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SCOTTISH BIRDS 



T 

THE JOURNAL OF THE 
SCOTTISH ORNITHOLOGISTS' CLUB 




Volume 22 
2001 

Editor 
Dr S da Prato 

Index prepared by Dr M A Ogilvie, assisted by R C Dickson 
Editorial Panel 

Dr I Bainbridge, Professor D Jenkins, Dr M Marquiss, Dr J B Nelson 

and R Swann 

ISSN 0036 9144 



SCOTTISH BIRDS 
Contents of Volume 22 2001 



Aberdeen, roof and ground nesting Eurasian Oystercatchers. 1-8 

Amar, A & Burthe, S, observations of predation of Hen Harrier nestlings by Hooded Crows in Orkney, 65-66 
Amendments to the Scottish List, 31-32 

Arthur, DCS & White, SA, numbers, distribution and breeding biology of Ring Ouzels in upper Glen Esk, 1 992-98, 50- 
59 

Auks, Little Gulls feeding in association with, 107-8; large winter gathering in the Firth of Forth, 111-2 

Booth, CJ, the number of pairs and breeding success of Common Ravens on Mainland, Orkney 1983-2000, 66-67; 

Common Ravens nesting near a roost, 68 
Brackenridge, W, obituary, 70-7 1 
Burthe, S, see Amar, A 

( thness, cliff nesting seabirds in 1980-1993, 73-81 
C attham, M, see Summers, KW 

lercaillie. Western, captures in snares, 28-30 
hough. Red-billed, status, distribution and breeding success in Scotland in 1998, 82-91 

rrhocorax pyrrhocorax, see Chough, Red-billed 

wlus cinclus, see Dipper. White-throated 
Li reus cyaneus, see Harrier, Hen 

Clugston, DL, Forrester, RW, McGowan, RY & Zonfrillo, B, Scottish List - species and subspecies, 33-49 
Colling, AW, obituary, 1 1 5-7 

Cook, AS, Grant, MC, McKay, CR & Peacock, MA, status, distribution and breeding success of the Red-billed Chough 

in Scotland in 1998. 82-91 
Correction: 68 

Corvus corax, see Raven. Common 
Corvus corone comix, see Crow, Hooded 
Corvus frugilegus, see Rook 

Cosgrove, P & Oswald, J, Western Capercaillie captures in snares, 28-30 
Crossbill, Common, egg sizes in Scotland - revised results, 69 
Crossbill, Parrot, egg sizes in Scotland - revised results, 69 

Crossbill, Scottish, egg sizes in Scotland - revised results, 69; feeding rates on Sitka spruce. 108-9 
Crow, Hooded, observations of predation of Hen Harrier nestlings in Orkney, 65-66 

Dickson, RC, prey species attacked and captured by Eurasian Sparrowhawks outside the breeding season, 62-63; 
frequency of prey transfer by Hen Harriers during breeding season, 106; Herring Gull predating chick of Red- 
throated Diver, 106-7 

Dipper, White-throated, predated by Grey Heron, 104-5 

Diver, Red-throated, predated by Herring Gull, 106-7 

Gavia stellata. see Diver, Red-throated 

Lams argentatus, see Gull, Herring 

Lams minutus, see Gull, Little 

Dougall, TW, see Mee, Allan 

Dougall, TW, see Needle. K 

Duncan, A, Eurasian Oystercatcher chick killed by sibling, 105-6 

Duncan. A. Duncan, R, Rae, R, Rebecca. GW & Stewart, BJ, roof and ground nesting Eurasian Oystercatchers in 

Aberdeen, 1-8 
Duncan, R, see Duncan, A 

Eagle, White-tailed, late nineteenth century breeding records, 60-61 

Eider, Common, moulting birds apparently being played with by Pilot Whale, 62 

Evans. RJ, cliff nesting seabirds in east Caithness 1980-1993, 73-81 

Falcon, Peregrine, predation at hirundine roosts, 110-1 

Falco peregrinus, see Falcon, Peregrine 

Forth, large winter gathering of auks in the Firth, 111-2 

Forrester, RW, amendments to the Scottish List. 31-32 

Forrester, RW, see Clugston, DL 

Glen Esk, numbers, distribution and breeding biology of Ring Ouzels in 1992-98. 50-59 
Grant, MC, see Cook, AS 

Gull, Herring, predating chick of Red-throated Diver. 106-7 
Gull, Little, feeding in association with auks, 107-8 
Haematopus ostralegus, see Oystercatcher, 
Haliaetus albicilla, see Eagle, White-tailed 

Harrier. Hen, observations of predation of nestlings by Hooded Crows in Orkney, 65-66; frequency of prey transfer 

during breeding season, 106 
Heron, Grey, predating White-throated Dipper, 104-5 
Ardea cinerea, see Heron, Grey 
Hintjens, K. see Needle, K 



Hirundines, predation by Peregrine Falcon at roosts. 110-1 

Huebeck. M, Pilot Whale apparently playing with moulting Common Eiders. 62 

Jardine. DC. feeding rates of Scottish Crossbills on Sitka spruce. 108-9 

Kinnear, P. Rook persecution in Orkney in the 1950s and the establishment of the first colony in Shetland, 61 
Loxia curvirostra, see Crossbill, Common 
Loxia pytyopsittacus, see Crossbill. Parrot 
Loxia scotica, see Crossbill, Scottish 
Tyto alba, see Owl, Barn 

Lynch, BM. Eurasian Oystercatcher nesting in a greenhouse. 64 

McGhie, HA, egg sizes of crossbills in Scotland, 69; diet of Barn Owls in East Ross and East Ness, 92- 1 03 
McGhie, HA, Moran, S & McGowan, RY. late nineteenth century breeding records of Osprey and White-tailed Eagle, 
60-61 

McGowan. RY. see Clugston. DL 
McGowan, RY, see McGhie, H 
McKay, CR. see Cook, AS 

McMillan. RL. Peregrine Falcon predation at hirundine roosts. 110-1 

Mee, A & Dougall. TW, Grey Heron predating White-throated Dipper, 104-5 

Moran, S, see McGhie, H 

Moray Firth, diet of Bam Owls, 92-103 

Mylne, C, large winter gathering of auks in the Firth of Forth, 111-2 

Needle, K. Hintjens, K & Dougall. TW. female Eurasian Sparrowhawk caching prey, 104 

North east Scotland, the contrasting status of the Ring Ouzel in 2 areas of upper Deeside between 1991 and 1998. 9-19; 

Quail heard on north east Scotland farmland in 1988-2001. 1 12 
Obituaries: W Brackenridge, 70-71; RF (Dick) Roxburgh. 1 14-5; AW (Tony) Colling, 115-7; RWJ Smith. 117-9; LA 

Urquart, 119-120 

Orkney, Rook persecution in the 1950s. 61; observations of predation of Hen Harrier nestlings by Hooded Crows. 65- 

66; the number of pairs and breeding success of Common Ravens on Mainland 1 983-2000. 66-67 
Osprey. late nineteenth century breeding records, 60-61 
Oswald, J, see Cosgrove, P 

Ouzel, Ring, contrasting status in 2 areas of upper Deeside. north east Scotland Between 1991 and 1998. 9-19; num- 
bers, distribution and breeding biology in upper Glen Esk, 1992-98, 50-59 
Owl, Bam. diet in East Ross and East Ness, 92-103 

Oystercatcher. Eurasian, roof and ground nesting in Aberdeen, 1-8; nesting in a greenhouse, 64; chick killed by 

sibling, 105-6 
Pandion haliaetus. see Osprey 
Parus cristatus. see Tit. Crested 
Peacock. MA, see Cook. AS 

Quail, heard on north east Scottish farmland in 1998-2001. 112-3 
Rae, R. see Duncan, A 

Raven, Common, the number of pairs and breeding success on Mainland. Orkney 1983-2000, 66-67; nesting near a 
roost. 68 

Rebecca. GW. the contrasting status of the Ring Ouzel in 2 areas of upper Deeside. north east Scotland between 1991 

and 1998.9-19 
Rebecca. GW, see Duncan, A 

Rook, persecution in Orkney in the 1950s and the establishment of the first colony in Shetland, 61 

Roxburgh, RF. obituary 114-5 

Scottish List - species and subspecies. 33-49 

Seabirds, cliff nesting in east Caithness 1980-1993. 73-81 

Shetland, the establishment of the first Rook colony. 61 

Smith, RWJ. obituary. 117-9 

Somateria mollissima, see Eider, Common 

Sparrowhawks, Eurasian, female caching prey, 104; prey species attacked and captured outside the breeding season. 
62-63 

Stewart, BJ. see Duncan, A 

Summers, KW & Canham. M. the distribution of Crested Tits in Scotland during the 1 990s, 20-27 

Telrao urogalhts, see Capercaillie. Western 

Tit. Crested, distribution in Scotland during the 1990s, 20-27 

Turdus torquatus, see Ouzel, Ring 

Urquart, LA, obituary, 119-120 

Vittery, A, Little Gulls feeding in association with auks, 107-8 

Watson, A, Quail heard on north east Scottish farmland in 1998-2001, 112-3 

White, SA, see Arthur, DCS 

Zonfrillo, B, see Clugston. DL 



Scottish Birds 



The Journal of the Scottish Ornithologists' Club 



Editor: Dr S da Prato 

Assisted by: Dr I Bainbridge, Professor D Jenkins, Dr M Marquiss, Dr J B Nelson, and R Swann 
Business Editor: Caroline Scott, Admin Officer, SOC, Harbour Poinl, Newhailes Road, 
Musselburgh EH2 1 6JS del 0131-653-0653, fax 0131 653 0654. email mail@lhe-soc.org.uk). 

Scottish Birds, the official journal of the Scottish Ornithologists' Club, publishes original material relating to ornithology in 
Scotland. Papers and notes should be sent to The Editor, Scottish Birds, SOC, Harbour Point, Newhailes Road, Musselburgh EH21 
6JS 

Two issues of Scottish Birds are published each year, in June and in December. Scottish B ; rds is issued free to members of the SOC, 
who also receive the quarterly newsletter Scottish Bird News, the annual Scottish Bird Report and the annual Raptor round up. These 
are available to Institutions at a subscription rate (1997) of £36. 

The Scottish Ornithologists' Club was formed in 1 936 to encourage all aspects of ornithology in Scotland. It has local branches 
which meet in Aberdeen. Ayr, the Borders, Dumfries, Dundee, Edinburgh. Glasgow, Inverness, New Galloway. Orkney. St Andrews, 
Stirling, Stranraer and Thurso, each with its own programme of field meetings and winter lectures. The Waterston Library is the 
most comprehensive ornithological library in Scotland, but is presently stored at the Club's temporary office in Musselburgh and is 
not available for reference till further notice. Check out our website for more information about the SOC and other bird related 
organisations: www.the-soc.org.uk 



SOC annual membership subscription rates 

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ask for a DD form by phoning the Admin Officer at the above address. 

Published by SOC, Harbour Point, Newhailes Road, Musselburgh EH21 6JS 

Printed by Meigle Print, Block 11, Units 1 & 2, Tweedbank Industrial Estate, Galashiels TD1 3RS 



Scottish 
Birds 

THE JOURNAL OF THE SOC 
Vol 22 No 1 June 2001 




Roof and ground nesting Eurasian Oystercatchers in Aberdeen 
The contrasting status of Ring Ouzels in 2 areas of upper Deeside 
The distribution of Crested Tits in Scotland during the 1990s 
Western Capercaillie captures in snares 
Amendments to the Scottish List 
Scottish List: species and subspecies 
Breeding biology of Ring Ouzels in Glen Esk 



8 AUG 2001 

PURCHASED 
TRING LIBRARY 



Scottish Birds 

The Journal of the Scottish Ornithologists' Club 
Editor: Dr S da Prato 

Assisted by: Dr I Bainbridge, Professor D Jenkins. Dr M Marquiss. Dr J B Nelson, and R Swann 
Business Editor: The Secretary SOC, 21 Regent Terrace Edinburgh EH7 5BT 
(tel 0131-556 6042, fax 0131 558 9947, email mail@the-soc.org.uk). 

Scottish Birds, the official journal of the Scottish Ornithologists' Club, publishes original material 
relating to ornithology in Scotland. Papers and notes should be sent to The Editor, Scottish Birds, 21 
Regent Terrace, Edinburgh EH7 5BT. 

Two issues of Scottish Birds are published each year, in June and in December. Scottish Birds is issued 
free to members of the Scottish Ornithologists' Club, who also receive the quarterly newsletter Scottish 
Bird News, the annual Scottish Bird Report and the annual Raptor round up. These are available to 
Institutions at a subscription rate (1997) of £36. 

The Scottish Ornithologists' Club was formed in 1936 to encourage all aspects of ornithology in I 
Scotland. It has local branches which meet in Aberdeen, Ayr, the Borders, Dumfries, Dundee. ; 
Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness, New Galloway, Orkney, St Andrews, Stirling, Stranraer and Thurso, | 
each with its own programme of field meetings and winter lectures. The Waterston Library at the Club's | 
headquarters at 21 Regent Terrace, Edinburgh EH7 5BT is the most comprehensive ornithological 
library in Scotland, and is available for reference during office hours (Monday to Friday, 0930- 1 630 hrs i 
but please phone beforehand). Check out our website for more information about the SOC and other I 
bird related organisations: www.the-soc.org.uk 



SOC annual membership subscription rates 

Direct Debit Other methods 



Adult 


£18.00 


£20.00 


Family (2 adults and any children under 18) living at one address 


£27.00 


£30.00 


Junior (under 18, or student under 25) 


£7.00 


£8.00 


Pensioner/unwaged 


£10.00 


£11.00 


Pensioner Family (2 adults living at one address) 


£14.50 


£16.00 


Life 


£360.00 


£400.00 


Life Family 


£540.00 


£600.00 



All subscriptions may be paid by Direct Debit and Covenanted. Subscriptions paid by Direct Debit | 
greatly assist the Club. Please ask for a Direct Debit form by phoning the Secretary at the above address. | 

Published by the Scottish Ornithologists' Club, 21 Regent Terrace. Edinburgh EH7 5BT 

Printed by Meigle Print, Block 1 1 , Units 1 & 2, Tweedbank Industrial Estate, Galashiels TD1 3RS 



Scottish Birds (2001 ) 22:1-8 f HISTORY MUSEUM I 
1 | 

os A^a 2001 : 

Roof and ground nesting Eurasian Oystercatchers in|\berfB4e»HAb£D 

f TRIfsG LIBRARY 
A DUNCAN, R DUNCAN, R RAE, G W REBECCT&li ^TSTEWXfiT"'"'' 

In 1993 Aberdeen had a population of at least 2 75 pairs of breeding Eurasian Oystercatchers 
of which 205 nested on roofs. This was probably the highest concentration of roof nesting 
Oystercatchers in Europe. Productivity for a sample of the roof nesters was 0.8 fledged 
young per pair. This compared favourably with other ground nesting populations inBritain. 
Factors possibly facilitating the increase of the population and some of the problems 
resulting from a wader colonising an urban environment are discussed. 



Introduction 

The Eurasian Oystercatcher* Haematopus 
ostralegus is a common breeding wader in Britain, 
with numbers and range having increased during 
the twentieth century (Cramp & Simmons 1983, 
Marchant et al 1990). It had a chiefly coastal 
distribution in Britain and Ireland but now also 
breeds inland in northern England and Scotland 
(Cramp & Simmons 1983. Dare 1993). 

In the early 1990s, there was an estimated 82,500 
breeding pairs in lowland Scotland ( O" Brien 1 996 ). 
In north east Scotland it is a widespread bird on 
most open habitats apart from moors and mountain 
tops (Buckland et al 1990). 

Eurasian Oystercatchers normally nest on sparsely 
vegetated ground or on shingle, but are well known 
for using unusual sites such as roofs, fence post 
tops, tree stumps and broken walls (Paton & Willis 
1973, Smith 1981, Cramp & Simmons 1983). In 
Scotland they have even nested in shallow hollows 
in trees (Smith 1989, Dougall et al 1989, Kirk 
1991). 

Eurasian Oystercatchers were first noted nesting on 
roofs in Aberdeen in 1 966 when a pair reared 2 
young on a flat school roof (RR pers obs). The 
earliest published records from Aberdeen were of 4 
pairs at separate roofs between 1971 and 1974 
(Paton & Willis 1973, Bourne 1975). 



The early history of ground ( 1 960s ) and roof nesting 
( 1 97 1 -75 ) at one of these locations was described in 
detail by Mills ( 1978). In the late 1970s. A Knox 
estimated about 30 roof nesting pairs in Aberdeen 
and reported that the population appeared to be 
increasing (in Marren 1982). 

The first attempt to quantify the extent of roof 
nesting within the urban and suburban areas of 
Aberdeen took place in 1986. when 109 confirmed 
or possible breeding pairs were located, of which 
74 were confirmed as roof nesters and 23 as ground 
nesters (Rae et al 1986). In 1988 BJS and F 
Tadhunter organised a similar census as did AD 
and RD in 1993. This paper presents the results 
from these surveys, discusses the increase of the 
population and compares the hatching success and 
productivity from a sample of the roof nesting pairs 
with other studies of ground nesting Eurasian 
Oystercatchers in Britain. 

Histoiy of roof nesting 

A request through the Internet in 1998 for 
information on roof nesting by Eurasian 
Oystercatchers and follow up correspondence 
revealed that the earliest records were from Holland, 
where pairs used ridged roofs in Texel in 1916 and 
the flat roof of a hospital in Friesland in 1936 (J 
Hulscher in litt, see also Tekke 1978). Other 
records from Holland included 1 to 20 pairs in The 
Hague (W L Janse), at least 25 pairs in Amsterdam 



"Scottish Birds has now adopted the latest BOURC English names (refer to pages 33-49 for the SBRC paper I 



2 A Duncan et al 



SB 22(1) 



(M Kuiper), 4 to 6 pairs in Groningen (J Allex) and 
46 pairs in south Kennemerland following a survey 
in 1986 (F Cottaar in lift). Further records were 
received from Sweden: 3 towns including about 10 
pairs in Stockholm (J Nillson), Norway: 5 towns, 
Denmark: 7 towns and Germany at least 18 towns 
(see also Vauk & Mathiske 1980). Single records 
were received from Riga in Latvia and Ordfordness 
in Suffolk, south east England. 

In Scotland, away from the Aberdeen area, roof 
nesting has been reported from Elgin in the mid 
1970s (Suttie 1996); Inverness, one pair in 1983 
and 9 pairs in 1995 (Munro 1984, Crooke & Vittery 
1997); Tain and Stirling in 1987 (Nethersole- 
Thompson 1988 & M V Bell pers convn 
respectively); Forres by the early 1990s (Cook 
1992); South Queensferry in 1992 (A Hilton pers 
comm); Inverkeithing and Dunnet in 1993 (P 
Doyle & N Money pers comm respectively); 
Nethy bridge and Montrose in 1995 (Crooke & 
Vittery 1997 & H Bell pers comm respectively); 
Monifieth in 1994 and Dundee in 1996 (Lynch 
1997) and Turriff in 1997 (per GWR) (Figure 1). 
The occurrence of roof nesting would therefore 
appear to have been fairly widespread in north west 
Europe by the late 1 990s. 

Methods 

Prior to each survey in Aberdeen a list of known and 
possible breeding sites was compiled. Fieldwork 
began in late January to coincide with the return of 
Eurasian Oystercatchers to their breeding areas. 
All potential sites ie building complexes with flat 
roofs and nearby mown grass areas were checked 
with as many roofs as possible being viewed from 
vantage points. Between late January and mid 
April all Eurasian Oystercatchers seen feeding, 
roosting or displaying near potential breeding sites 
were noted. Further visits were made as necessary 
to confirm if pairs were present. As it was not 
possible to gain access to, or view, all roofs some 
pairs may have been missed. 



Figure 1 Map of mainland Scotland and the 
Western Isles showing the locations of towns or 
villages with records of roof nesting Eurasian 
Oystercatchers. Names and the dates first re- 
ported are as follows: 1 Aberdeen 1966, 2 Elgin 
mid 1970s, 3 Inverness 1983, 4 Tain 1987, 5 
Stirling 1987, 6 Forres early 1990s, 7 South 
Queensferry 1992, 8 Inverkeithing 1993, 9 
Dunnet 1993, 10 Monifieth 1994, 11 Montrose 
1995, 12 Nethybridge 1995, 13 Dundee 1996, 
14 Turriff 1997. 




Observations of an incubating bird, eggs, chicks, 
adults carrying food or alarm calling were classed 
as confirmed breeding. Two or more sightings 
separated by at least 2 weeks of a pair of Eurasian 
Oystercatchers present at, or near a potential 
breeding site was recorded as possible breeding. 
For the 1986 and 1993 surveys all confirmed and 
possible roof nesting pairs within the city boundary 



Scottish Birds (200 J) 



Roof ami ground nesting Oystercatchers in Aberdeen 3 



and all the ground nesting pairs in the built up areas 
were mapped. Between 1988 and 1993 hatching 
and fledging success was recorded from a sample 
of the roof nesting pairs. Productivity was measured 
as the number of young fledged per breeding pair 
(Harris 1967. Heppleston 1972 & Briggs 1984). 

Results 

Numbers 

The number of confirmed and possible breeding 
pairs located are shown in Table 1 . Between 1 986 
and 1993 the total increased by 152% ( 109 to 275 ) 
with confirmed roof and ground nesting pairs 
increasing respectively by 177% (74 to 205) and 
30% (23 to 30). In 1988 and 1993 the percentage 
of roof nesting pairs was the same at 87%. 

Distribution and density 

Figures 2 and 3 show the distribution of all confirmed 
and possible breeding pairs in 1986 and 1993 
respectively. The highest concentrations were 
found around large building complexes such as 
Aberdeen University campus. Foresterhill hospital, 
large schools and the industrial estates (Figure 3). 
For example, one school with roofs at varying 
heights held 6 breeding pairs over an area of 1 .03ha 



of roof and 8.36ha of mown grass, where birds were 
observed feeding. By 1993, the average density 
over all of the built up areas was 2.7 pairs per km 2 . 

Nest sites 

Roof sites were generally flat and coated with 
bitumen, with a covering of small granite chips or 
other small stones or pebbles. However, in 1993 7 
nests were on sloping roofs up to 15" gradient. 
Nests were usually a hollow shaped out in the 
gravel but occasionally the gravel was built up into 
a mound. The height and area of the roofs varied 
considerably. 

The lowest were at 3m on a school shelter and on a 
small electricity sub station and the highest were 
approximately 40 to 45m on a university building 
and on a school. The smallest area of roof was 3m : 
and the largest was approximately 2000m 2 . 
Extraordinary sites included house extensions, 
dormer windows, busy public houses, as well as 
Aberdeen fire station and a garage/car salesroom 
both on a dual carriageway. 

Ground nests were largely located in pipe storage 
yards or derelict areas of stony ground in industrial 
estates. Other sites included the quadrangles of a 
hospital and a school, large flower pots, flower 



Table 1 Minimum number of confirmed and possible breeding pairs of Eurasian Oystercatchers 
in Aberdeen in the late 1970s, 1986, 1988 and 1993. 



Pairs 

confirmed breeding 

roof ( % ) ground ( % ) 

c30 ? 



Source 



74 (76) 
107 (87) 
205 (87) 



23 (24) 
16 (13) 
30 (13) 



possible breeding total 



12 

7 

38 



c.30 

109 
123 

275* 



A Knox (in 
Marren 1982) 
Rae era/1986 
this study 
this study 



* Two records in 1993 were of pairs with broods which appeared near buildings but the actual nest 
sites were not located. 



4 A Duncan et al 



SB 22(1) 



Figure 2 Distribution of Eurasian Oystercatcher 
pairs in the urban and suburban areas of 
Aberdeen in 1986. • = confirmed breeding, o = 
possible breeding, number of pairs shown when 

more than one. = Aberdeen 

City boundary, = built up areas. 



Figure 3 Distribution of Eurasian Oyster- 
catcher pairs in the urban and suburban areas of 
Aberdeen in 1993. • = confirmed breeding, o = 
possible breeding, number of pairs shown when 

more than one. = Aberdeen 

City boundary, = built up areas. 

note : dots outside the built up areas are roof 
nesters. 




beds, an ornamental pedestal at drive way entrance, 
cricket pitch, sports stadium sand pit. centre of 
football pitch, a car park, under a park bench, base 
of headstone in cemetery, temporary roundabout 
( 1 m diameter) and the gravel edge of a pathway to 
the main entrance of an office block. 

The location of all confirmed breeding attempts in 
1993 are detailed in Table 2. The industrial estates, 
schools, colleges and universities combined held 
two thirds of the pairs. 

Breeding performance of roof nesters 

The outcome of 89 roof nests was monitored 
between 1988 and 1993. The hatching success was 
69% from 223 eggs laid and 7 1 young were fledged 



giving a productivity of 0.8 fledged young per pair. 
The percentage of eggs hatching and the productivity 
were both at the higher end of the range when 
compared to other studies (Table 3). 

Discussion 

Numbers and density 

There was a large increase in the number of breeding 
Eurasian Oystercatchers in Aberdeen's urban and 
suburban environment following the initial 
colonisation. The population rose from a few pairs 
in the early 1970s to at least 275 pairs in 1993, with 
87% nesting on roofs. Three factors were probably 
instrumental. Firstly, there was a large number of 
flat roofs with a layer of gravel. Eurasian 



■ottish Birds (2001) 



Roof and ground nesting Oystercatchers in Aberdeen 



5 



Table 2 Nest site location of all confirmed 
Eurasian Oystercatcher breeding attempts in 
Aberdeen in 1993. 



roof ground combined 









tnt i I i °7n \ 
lUlal \ iC ) 


TnHnQtriil Fctitps 


76 


1 5 




School s 


31 


1 


32 ( 14) 


Universities & 








Colleges 


27 


4 


31 (13) 


Hospitals & 








Research Institutes 


18 


3 


21 (9) 


Hotels & 








Public Houses 


17 





17 (7) 


Offices 


10 





10(4) 


Dwelling Houses 


10 





10(4) 


Shops 


8 





8(3) 


Others* 


8 


7 


15 (6) 


Totals 


205 


30 


235 



* roof: airport terminal (2), leisure centres (2), 
fire station, crematorium, garage/car salesroom, 
covered resen'oir 

ground: covered resen'oirs (3), market garden 
(2), cemetery, football stadium car park 



Oystercatchers prefer open areas for nesting as an 
adaptation against the approach of predators 
(Heppleston 1972) and the gravel on the roofs is 
similar to the original habitat of coastal shingle. 
Secondly, there were extensive and frequently cut 
grass areas throughout the built up areas in the form 
of playing fields, parks, roadside verges and other 
ornamental and recreational areas. These provided 
convenient, apparently invertebrate rich, feeding 
areas forthe birds. Thirdly. Eurasian Oystercatchers 
are one of the few waders which carry food to their 
chicks (Cramp & Simmons 1983). Birds were 
observed flying from the roofs to the grass areas 
and returning with food for their young. Therefore, 
it appears that a combination of suitable nesting 



sites, convenient feeding areas and the ability to 
carry food to their young made the exploitation of 
this nesting habitat possible. 

Their subsequent colonisation led to relatively high 
densities in areas where there were complexes of 
roofs with nearby feeding areas. Interestingly, 
while nests were sometimes close to each other in 
terms of distance, no pairs shared a common roof or 
incubated within sight of one other, although they 
would have been in sight when flying. This contrasts 
with the situation found by some other workers, for 
example. Nethersole-Thompson (1988) quoted 
several instances where Eurasian Oystercatchers 
were found nesting as close as 3m apart. 

The habit of roof nesting spread during the 1 980s 
and 1 990s to other small towns and villages around 
Aberdeen such as Inverurie (20km). Whitecaims 
( 12km). Ellon (25km) and Stonehaven (20km). In 
addition, roofs in the midst of farmland, where 
there would appear to be no shortage of suitable 
ground for nest sites, have also been adopted, for 
example the Lairhillock Inn 12km from Aberdeen 
had one pair in 1 993 (Gourmet 1 997 ) and 3 in 1 998 
and Finzean school (35km) held a breeding pair 
between 1990 and 1999. 

The Scottish, and hence British, population of roof 
nesting Eurasian Oystercatchers in 1993 was 
possibly around 250 pairs. In 1998 J Hulscher {in 
litt) considered that nearly every town and village 
in Holland, within the species breeding range, had 
roof nesting pairs, with the district of south 
Kennemerland having the largest concentration 
with 46 pairs (J Cpttaar in litt). Aberdeen would 
therefore appear to have been unique in 1 993, with 
at least 275 urban and suburban pairs of which 205 
were roof nesters. This was probably the highest 
density of roof nesting Eurasian Oystercatchers in 
Europe. 



6 A Duncan et al 



SB 22(1) 



Table 3 The breeding success from a sample of roof nesting Eurasian Oystercatchers in 
Aberdeen during 1988 to 1993 and comparison with other ground nesting studies in Britain. 



locality 



number % % eggs number of 

of eggs producing fledged young 

nests hatched fledged young per pair years 



source 



Skokholm Island 
(Wales) 



64 



31 



0.9 1963-64 Harris 1967 



north east Scotland 
coastal 52 47 

inland 139 50 



13 

23 



0.4 
0.7 



1966-68 Heppleston 1972 



north west England 

coastal 112 19 

riparian 202 1 7 

agrarian 34 42 



13 
I I 

32 



0,4 
04 
1.0 



1978-80 Briggs 1984 



Aberdeen, roof nesting 89 



69 



32 



0.8 1988-93 this study 



Breeding performance of roof nesters 



Problems of roof nesting in the city 



Productivity from a sample of the roof nesters 
compared favourably with other ground nesting 
studies from Britain (Table 3). This was possibly 
due to a lack of ground predators, convenient food 
supply and minimal disturbance. Harris (1967) 
found a similar level of productivity on the Welsh 
island of Skokholm where there were no ground 
predators. In Aberdeenshire, Heppleston (1972) 
found that inland nesting birds had a higher 
productivity than coastal breeders and reasoned 
that this was because they exploited a food source 
nearer to their nest sites and subsequently spent less 
time away from the chicks and more time being 
vigilant for predators. 



Roof reared chicks often fall off or are blown from 
roofs. If they fall when small they often survive, 
presumably because they are so light, but when 
they are large thiscan result in injury or death. Also, 
once off the roofs they are sometimes killed by 
traffic or ground predators. Further, although 
chicks are largely safe from ground predators when 
on roofs, they have been observed being taken by 
crows Conms spp, gulls Larus spp. Common 
Kestrels Falco tinnunculus and Eurasian 
Sparrowhawks Accipiter nisus. 

In the 1990s, leakage at some roofs led to them 
being resurfaced. Replacement bitumen is laid but 
the gravel covering is often omitted. Without 
gravel, the roof is largely unsuitable for nesting, 
although on some roofs a build up of debris such as 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



dead moss has resulted in the birds nesting 
successfully. Some pairs have been encouraged to 
remain on resurfaced roofs by providing a small 
amount of gravel or shingle. For example, in 1985 
a janitor emptied a bucket of gravel onto a resurfaced 
roof and it was still in use in 1993. 

In 1993, at 2 sites where Eurasian Oystercatchers 
had previously nested on the roofs and resurfacing 
had taken place, nests were found nearby on the 
ground on small areas of gravel. Both failed due to 
excessive disturbance. Four other former nest sites 
were lost in 1993, 2 due to buildings being 
demolished and 2 due to resurfacing during the 
breeding season. 

Problems of ground nesting in the built up 

areas 

The catholic choice of nest sites by ground nesters 
also leads to problems. Nests on sports pitches or 
near busy public roads often fail due to repeated 
disturbance or removal of eggs. However, a nest on 
the Aberdeenshire Cricket Club pitch in 1986 was 
successful almost certainly because the groundsman 
moved the practice wicket. 

The future 

Aberdeen's population of urban nesting Eurasian 
Oystercatchers increased rapidly between the 1 970s 
and the mid 1990s. Their adaptation to roof nesting 
and to other urban and suburban sites and their 
utilisation of a convenient food source allowed 
them to fill a previously unexploited niche. A 
further survey in 1998 showed a slight fall in 
numbers (A Duncan & R Duncan unpublished). 
Whether this indicates a decline in the population or 
a levelling off will be revealed by further surveys. 
The main threats during the 1990s were the 
resurfacing of roofs and the loss of mown grass 
feeding areas to building development. However, 
the provision of gravel or an open box of soil by 
sympathetic observers has allowed some sites to be 



maintained after resurfacing. It is intended to 
continue the study and marking of chicks and adults 
with coloured and individually numbered Darvic 
rings begun in 1997. 

Acknowledgements 

We thank Jim Church, Brian Cosnette, Judy Duncan, 
Ian Francis, Clive McKay, Mark Sullivan, John 
Swallow and Fred Tadhunter for their assistance 
during the surveys and many members of the public 
for theirrecords. We are indebted to Aberdeen City 
Council, the University of Aberdeen Estates Dept, 
Grampian University Hospitals Trust and to all the 
caretakers, school janitors, business managers and 
many other people who allowed us access to the 
roofs or to vantage points. Paul Doyle generated 
the Internet request and we thank all those who 
responded to it and many of them for further 
correspondence. Finally we thank Drs Ian Francis 
and Ron Summers for constructive comments on 
the draft paper. 

References 

Bourne WRP 1975. Oystercatchers on the roof. British 
Birds 68: 302. 

Briggs K 1984. The breeding ecology of coastal and 
inland Oystercatchers in north Lancashire. Bird Study 
31: 141-147. 

Buckland S T, Bell M V & Picozzi N (eds) 1990. The 
Birds of North-East Scotland 172-173. North-East 
Scotland Bird Club, Aberdeen. 

Cook M 1992. The Birds oj Moray and Nairn, 98-100. 
Mercat Press, Edinburgh. 

Crooke C H & Vittery A (eds) 1997. Highland Bird 
Report 1995:51. 

CrampS& Simmons KEL(eds) 1983. The Birds of the 
Western Palearctic vol. 3 17-35. Oxford University 
Press. Oxford. 

Dare P 1993. Oystercatcher pp 156- 1 57. In Gibbons 
et al (eds) The New Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain 
and Ireland: 1988-1991. BTO/SOC/IWC, Poyser, 
London. 

Dougall T, Craig S, Thome D & Thorne M 1989. 
Oystercatcher nesting in tree. Scottish Bird News 15:9. 



8 A Duncan et al 



SB 22(1) 



'Gourmet' 1997. The quarterly newsletter of the 
Lairhillock Inn, Netheiiy. No 15. 
Harris M P 1967. The biology of Oystercatchers 
Haematopus ostralegus on Skokholm Island, south Wales. 
Ibis 109:180-193. 

HepplestonP 1972. The comparative breeding ecology of 
Oystercatchers Haematopus ostralegus L in inland and 
coastal habitats. Journal of Animal Ecology 4 1 :23-5 1 . 
Kirk K 1991. Oystercatcher in oak tree. Scottish Bird 
News 23:5. 

Lynch B 1997. Roof nesting Oystercatchers Haematopus 
ostralegus on Tayside. Tay Ringing Group Report 1994- 
95:20-21. 

Marchant J H, Hudson R, Carter S P & Whittington P 
1990. Population trends in British breeding birds. BTO 
Tring. 

Man-en P 1982. A Natural History of Aberdeen, 4 1 -42. R 
Callander Finzean. 

Mills PR 1978. Oystercatchers nesting on roofs. British 
Birds 71:308. 

Munro C A 1984. Roof nesting Oystercatchers. Bird 
Study 31:148 



Nethersole-ThompsonD 1988. The Oystercatcher. Shire 
Natural History Publications Ltd., Aylesbury. 
O'Brien M 1996. The numbers of breeding waders in 
lowland Scotland. Scottish Birds 18:231-241. 
Paton W S & Willis D P 1973. Unusual nest sites of 
Oystercatchers. Scottish Birds 7: 406. 
Rae R. Rebecca G W & Stewart B J 1 986. Oystercatchers 
breeding in Aberdeen. Wader Study Group Bulletin 48:7. 
Smith D 1981. Oystercatchers excavating tops of fence 
posts. British Birds 74:41. 

Smith D 1989. Photograph of Oystercatcher nesting in 
tree. Scottish Bird News 13:15. 

Suttiel 1996. Oystercatcher incubating egg and rearing 
young of Herring Gull. Moray & Nairn Bird Report 
1995? 78-79. 

TekkeMJ 1978. Oystercatchers nesting on roofs. British 
Birds 71:308. 

VaukGvon&MathiskeU 1980. Successful breeding of 
Oystercatchers on a roof in downtown Bremerhaven. 
Seevogel 1 :47-48. 



Alistair Duncan*, Raymond Duncan, Robert Rae, Graham Rebecca & Brian Stewart 
* Corresponding author - 12 Cairncry Avenue, Aberdeen AB16 5DS. 

E-mail alistair @ cairncry.freeserve.co.uk 

Revised manuscript accepted September 2000 




Scottish Birds {2001 ) 22:9-19 



The contrasting status of the Ring Ouzel in 2 areas of upper Deeside, 
north east Scotland between 1991 and 1998 

GRAHAM W REBECCA 

/// 1998, surveys on 2 areas of upper Deeside, north east Scotland confirmed the 
findings of a study in 1991 which showed a relatively high density of breeding Ring 
Ouzels in the Glen Clunie area and low numbers on part of Mar Lodge estate. The 
contrasting densities in the 2 study areas were probably a result of subtle habitat 
differences linked to geology, soils and land use. In 1998 the Glen Clunie study area 
held at least 59 pairs. This represented approximately 1% of the United Kingdom 
population as estimated in 1999 and in contrast to many other areas of Britain this 
population was stable or had possibly increased during the 1990s. 



Introduction 

In 1996 the Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus was 
included in the Amber List of birds of conservation 
concern in the United Kingdom, Channel Islands 
and Isle of Man (Gibbons et al 1996 J ). This 
followed a 21% decline in range per lOknr between 
the 2 British breeding bird atlases covering 1968- 
72 and 1988-91 (Sharrock 1976, Hill 1993). The 
range decline was complemented by an assessment 
of population trends which indicated there had 
been a small but steady decline in Britain between 
1900andl995(Gibbonseffl/1996 b ). InScotland, 
Baxter and Rintoul (1953) reported a serious 
decrease in the population during the first half of 
the twentieth century. This trend continued until 
the early 1 980s. particularly south of the Grampians 
(Thorn 1986). 

In the 1 990s Ring Ouzels were poorly censused by 
the British Trust for Ornithology (BTO) annual 
Common Bird Census and Breeding Bird Survey. 
By 1997 concerns amongst some Royal Society 
for the Protection of Birds (RSPB ) staff and other 
ornithologists over reported declines in England 
and Wales (Appendix 1 ) and south west Scotland 
(C J Rollie pers comm.) led to a survey of 135 
traditional nesting sites in south Scotland. The 



results confirmed serious declines, particularly in 
Galloway and Ayrshire where there were no 
records from 29 former sites. In total, breeding 
was proven or probable at 53 former sites (39%) 
(Sim 1997). The formation of a national Ring 
Ouzel study group followed and by autumn 1998 
the RSPB. with the helpof the group, had produced 
a Species Action Plan (SAP) with the priority 
statement indicating the need for conservation 
action to determine the extent and causes of the 
declines (RSPB 1998). One main recommendation 
from the SAP was that a survey was necessary to 
establish the current breeding population of Britain 
and Ireland which had previously been estimated 
at 5680 to 11360 pairs (Hill 1993). This was 
undertaken in 1999 resulting in a population 
estimate for the United Kingdom of 61 55 probable 
or confirmed breeding pairs (95% confidence 
limits of 3586-9369) (Wotton etal, in prep). The 
SAP and the study group also encouraged local 
studies of this relatively poorly known species. 

In north east Scotland Ring Ouzels breed in the 
upland moors and glens, mainly on upper Donside 
and on Deeside from the Cairngorms to the Glen 
Dye and Cairn o' Mount areas. Breeding range 
per 10km : differed little between the first British 
atlas covering 1 968-72 ( 1 9 squares ) and the north 



10 G W Rebecca 



SB 22(1) 



east Scotland (NES) atlas covering 1981-84 (17 
squares) (Buckland etal 1990). In 1991 the Joint 
Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) 
moorland bird surveys on upper Deeside at Glen 
Clunie (GCsa) and Mar Lodge (MLsa) study areas 
(Figure 1 ) resulted in 45 and 4 pairs respectively 
of Ring Ouzels being located ( Brown & Shepherd 
199 1 ). The density and maximum number of pairs 
per 1km 2 in the GCsa were the highest recorded 
when compared to similar studies in Scotland and 
England and the average number of pairs in 
occupied 1km squares was high at 2, and second 
only to Angus with 2.53 pairs. By contrast, the 
densities at the MLsa were low and similar to 
those found in the declining populations in south 
Scotland ( Appendix 2). The NES atlas also showed 
either low density or no pairs on Mar Lodge estate 
and higher density in the Glen Clunie area 
(Buckland etal 1990). 



This study in 1998 aimed to coverthe 1km National 
Grid squares or part squares to the nearest 1 /4. that 
held Ring Ouzels in 1 99 1 . and a random sample of 
lkm squares which held no Ring Ouzels in 1991. 
A comparison of distribution and numbers could 
then be made from the early to late 1 990s, a decade 
in which Ring Ouzel declines were reported from 
widespread areas of Britain since the 1970s and 
1980s (Appendix 1, Francis etal 1999). 

Methods 

In the 1991 survey breeding Ring Ouzels were 
located within 25 lkm squares or part squares in 
the GCsa comprising 22.5km 2 and within 4 squares 
or part squares comprising 3km 2 in the MLsa 
(Figure 1). In 1998 the same 25.5km 2 was surveyed 
using the same systematic methods over the same 
number of visits as in 1991, except that the time 



Figure 1 Map showing the location of the JNCC Glen Clunie and Mar Lodge 
moorland bird survey study areas in 1991 and 1-kni squares or part squares surveyed 
for Ring Ouzels in 1998, ■ = squares with Ring Ouzels in 1991, □ = random squares. 




12 GW Rebecca 



SB 22(1) 



period was wider. Each 1km square or part square 
was divided into 500m x 500m squares (0.25km : ) 
and surveyed twice in the GCsa and once in the 
MLsa between 1 May and 14 June (the second 
visits to 3 1km squares were later, one on 16 June 
and 2 on 3 July). The JNCC study period of 1 1 
May to 1 3 June was decided by factors other than 
biological (A F Brown pers comm ) and most Ring 
Ouzels on upper Deeside should have been on 
territory by late April (Buckland et al 1990). In 
1991 and 1998 each 0.25km : was surveyed for 25 
minutes between 0830 and 1 800 hours on each 
visit. The whole area was checked thoroughly by 
walking about, pausing, scanning and listening 
such that all parts of the square was visible and 
was not carried out in strong wind or precipitation 
more than light rain or when low cloud or fog 
affected visibility. The location and activities of 
all Ring Ouzels were recorded separately for each 
visit on 1 :25000 maps and then combined at the 
end of the study period. Birds were counted as 
breeding if they were observed in song, courtship 
display, distraction display, repetitive alarm 
calling, territorial dispute or were carrying nest 
material or food or if a nest, eggs or young were 
found. Pairs were considered to be separate if 
proven in the field or if the observations listed 
above were at least 200m apart. To identify if 
there had been any increase in distribution since 
1991, 5x1 km squares, with no Ring Ouzels in 
1991, were selected at random from each study 
area in 1 998 and surveyed using the same methods 
and timing (Figures 1 and 2b). 

In addition, as part of other studies all 1 km squares 
on Mar Lodge estate were visited at least once in 
June 1 998 to record birds and other fauna and flora 
(MTMBST 1999 and National Trust for Scotland 
[NTS] records ) and the Ring Ouzel data was made 
available for this paper. This meant that there was 
considerably more fieldwork done in 8km 2 in the 
MLsa in 1998 than in 1991. Further, another 10 
pairs were located in Glen Clunie in 1998 during 
a study of Ring Ouzel breeding ecology ( Sim et al 



2000), 8 were outwith and 2 were in the study area. 
These 10 pairs are shown in Figure 2b and the 
latter 2 are also included in Appendix 3. 

In 1998 the different habitat types were assessed 
to the nearest 5 hectares for each occupied 1km 
square or part square using standard BTO habitat 
codes to levels 1 and 2 (Crick 1992). 

Results 

The area surveyed and number of pairs located in 
1998 are given in Table 1 and the distribution of 
pairs in the GCsa are shown in Figure 2b. 

Glen Clunie 

There were 57 pairs (+2 see above) in the study 
area, a comparative increase of 12 (27%) since 
1991. The 59 pairs were located within 22 1km 
squares, giving a density for occupied squares and 
part squares of 3 pairs per km 2 (n = 19.5 km 2 ). For 
the 16 complete 1km squares one held 6 pairs, 3 
held 5, one held 4, 5 held 3, 3 held 2 and 3 held one 
(Appendix 3). There were no pairs located in the 
other 3km 2 nor in the 5 random 1km squares 
surveyed. 

Mar Lodge 

Only 2 pairs were located, one of which was in a 
random square, about 250m from a site occupied 
in 1 99 1 . This represented an overall decrease of 
50% but sample sizes were too small to be 
meaningful. 

Habitat 

In the GCsa habitat was recorded for 19.5km 2 of 
which 57% was estimated as dry or wet heath, 
dominated by Heather Calluna vulgaris and Erica; 
20% was a mixture of semi natural grass moor and 
grass moor with heather; 18% was cliff, crag, 
scree or boulder slopes and 5% was apparently 



Scottish Birds (2001 ) Ring Ouzels in 2 areas of upper Deeside between 1991 & 1998 13 



Table 1 Pairs of breeding Ring Ouzels in Glen Clunie and Mar Lodge study areas in upper Deeside 
in 1991 and 1998. 

1991* 1998 



Area Number Area with Area Number Change in 

surveyed of pairs Ring Ouzels surveyed of pairs numbers from 

(km 2 ) to nearest (km 2 ) 1991 to 1998 

0.25km 2 

Glen Clunie 46 45 22.5 22.5+5 random 57 +12 

Mar Lodae 60 4 3 3+5 random 2 -2 



* from Brown & Shepherd 1991 

improved or unimproved grassland. Habitat on 
2knr of the MLsa was estimated as 70% dry or wet 
heath, 15% grass moor with heather and 15% cliff, 
crag, scree or boulder slopes (Appendix 3). 

Discussion 

Numbers and land use 

The GCsa held a large number of breeding Ring 
Ouzels in the early and late 1990s with a relatively 
high density in comparison to other areas of Britain. 
There was an apparent increase of 27% between 
1991 and 1998 despite birds being absent from 
3km 2 which held 3 pairs in 1991 . However, some 
of the increase may have been a result of this survey 
having a longer study period and concentrating on 
a single species whereas the JNCC study covered 
all upland birds. The earlier start date may have 
influenced the numbers recorded on the first visits, 
allowing less time for failed breeding attempts to be 
missed than in 1991. Regardless of any potential 
biases between survey methods in 1 99 1 and 1 998 
the numbers located in the GCsa and nearby in 1 998 
equate to 1 . 1 % of the estimated breeding population 
for the United Kingdom in 1999. 



The stability, or possibly even increase of the 
population in the GCsa is of interest to 
conservationists as there were reported declines, 
some serious, in many areas of England, Wales 
and Scotland between the 1970s and 1990s 
(Appendix 1, Francis et al 1999). Stable 
populations have also been found in Glen Esk, 
Angus, approximately 30km east of Glen Clunie 
(D Arthur pers comm) and on Dartmoor, south 
westEngland (Appendix 1 ). The mosaic of habitats 
and the land use in the Glen Esk study area were 
similar to that in Glen Clunie (Arthur 1 994 & pers 
comm) with heather the main plant species and a 
large proportion of the remaining habitat 
comprising of grasses and crags, scree and rock 
debris. The management at the GCsa and Glen 
Esk, concentrated on producing Red Grouse 
Lagopus lagopus and Red Deer Cemts elaphus 
for sport shooting. Sheep were abundant during 
spring and summer and Mountain Hare Lepus 
timidus and Rabbit Oiyctolagits cuniculus were 
other common herbivores. The drier heather 
slopes are burnt regularly in strips or patches, to 
provide fresh shoots for grouse, deer and sheep, 
resulting in a variety of different age heather 
stands. Many Foxes Vulpesvulpes, Stoats Mustela 
erminea and Carrion Crows Cor\>us c. corone, 



14 G W Rebecca 



SB 22(1) 



known to be predators of Ring Ouzels (Durman 
1977, Appleyard 1994) are killed each year by 
gamekeepers. The level of burning, grazing and 
gamekeeping during the 1990s (and probably for 
>10 years earlier judging by the densities from the 
NES atlas) obviously suited breeding Ring Ouzels. 
The overall management, land use and habitat in 
the GCsa appeared to change little between 1980 
and 1999 (pers obs). 

In contrast, at the MLsa Ring Ouzels were found at 
low density with large areas having no Ouzels. A 
similar scenario was shown in the NES atlas from 
fieldwork during 1981 to 1984. The other 
ornithological surveys in June 1998 covering all of 
Mar Lodge estate provided further evidence of low 
numbers of Ring Ouzels, with only another 9 pairs 
located, giving a total of 1 1 in approximately 300km 2 
of non woodland habitat (MTMBST 1999 and 
NTS). NTS records from 1996 to 1999 add little to 
this cumulative total suggesting that the low numbers 
found in 1998 were probably genuine. The 
traditional management on Mar Lodge estate was 
for Red Deer and Red Grouse shooting using 
similar methods as in the GCsa but there was no 
sheep rearing between 1995 and 1999. 

Soils, vegetation and land capability for 
ayricultiiii e 

Glen Clunie has been described as being lime rich 
(Nethersole-Thompson & Watson 198 1 ) whilst the 
non woodland area of Mar Lodge estate in 1997 
was largely composed of blanket bog and montane 
plateau (NTS Ecological Zone Map provisional, 
1 997 ). Limestone outcrops occur near Glen Clun ie 
and Glen Callater (Geological Survey 1957) and 
some of the soils there are richer and of better 
quality than at Mar Lodge estate (Walker et al 
1982). In the GCsa soils in the valley bottoms have 
the potential to produce arable crops or permanent 
pasture (5 1 in land capability map [LCM ] in Walker 
et al 1982) and this does occur. The valley slopes 
are dominated by dry heather moor or acid bent 



fescue grassland and soils are largely humus iron 
podzols and brown forest soils with peaty gleys 
(Walker et al 1982 & soil map). 

On Mai' Lodge estate agricultural potential is limited 
to rough grazing (6, & 7 in the LCM). In the lower 
areas the dominant vegetation is wet and dry heather 
moor, bog heather moor and blanket bog and soils 
are largely peaty podzols and peaty gleys (Walker 
etal 1982 & soil map). 

The proportion of grassland and calcareous Hushes 
on the better, less acidic soils in the GCsa is 
probably one reason why there were large numbers 
of Ring Ouzels. Less acidic soils contain more 
earthworms (Oligochaeta), which are one of the 
main spring and summer foods of the Ring Ouzel 
(Poxton 1986, Cramp 1988, Tyler & Green 1994, 
Appleyard 1994). In 1998 the birds were regularly 
observed foraging on grass and flushes, and 
earthworms appeared to be the main food item 
brought to chicks. It would be interesting to compare 
earthworm abundance from the preferred feeding 
areas in the GCsa and the Glen Esk study area with 
samples from the MLsa and those already collected 
from a declining population in Wales (Tyler & 
Green 1994). 

For whatever reasons the GCsa was clearly a good 
environment for Ring Ouzels in the 1990s with a 
relatively dense, and at the least, a stable population. 
This was in contrast to many other areas of Britain 
where declines were reported between the 1 970s 
and 1990s. With at least 1% of the estimated 
breeding population for the United Kingdom in 
1999 in parts of Glen Clunie, Glen Callater and the 
Baddoch Bum the overall area can be considered 
important for Ring Ouzel in national terms. 

Future work 

To make further comparisons with other studies in 
Britain, for example in Angus (Arthur 1994), the 
Pentland Hills (Durman 1977, Poxton 1986), the 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Yorkshire Dales ( Appleyard 1 994 ) and Wales ( Tyler 
& Green 1994. Hurford 1996) a detailed study of 
breeding ecology and population dynamics at Glen 
Clunie is necessary. This began in 1998 and 1999 
and is planned to continue for at least a further 2 
years (Sim et al 2000). Information on site 
occupancy, nest location and habitat, egg laying 
date, clutch size, productivity, diet and growth rate 
of young, occurrence of double nesting, nest site 
fidelity and return rate of colour ringed chicks have 
been collected. It is hoped that some of the results 
may shed light on the birds breeding ecology relevant 
to other areas of Britain. 

Acknowledgements 

I thank the following for assistance with the survey 
work; Keith Blomeiiey. Robert Coleman. Judy 
Duncan. Raymond Duncan. Dave Fairlamb. Ian 
Francis. Sarah Money. Ian Rendall. Graeme 
Ruthven. Innes Sim. Graeme Stringer and the 
Mountains to Marine Bird Survey Team for 
additional data from Mar Lodge estate. Peter 
Holden. Phil Glennie and Julie Watson of the NTS 
cooperated fully with the study and provided the 
habitat zone map. details of the non woodland area 
and records from 1996-99. I also thank Simon 
Blackett and Peter Fraser of Invercauld estate for 
their cooperation. Dr Andy Brown permitted the 
use of unpublished data from the 1991 JNCC study. 
Ellen Kelly produced the maps and Dr Ian Francis. 
Chris Rollie and Innes Sim commented 
constructively on the draft. 

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Appleyard 1 1 994. Ring Ouzels of the Yorkshire Dales. W 
S Maney & Son. Leeds. 

Arthur D 1994. Breeding Ring Ouzels Turdus torquatus 
in Glen Esk, Layside. 1992-1994 - a first report. Toy 
Ringing Group Report 1992-93:2-3. 
Baxter E V & Rintoul L J 1953. The Birds of Scotland. 
Oliver and Boyd, Edinburgh. 

Brindley E, Lucas F & Waterhouse M 1992. North 



Staffordshire Moors Survey 1992. Unpublished report to 
the RSPB. 

Brown A F& Shepherd KB 1991 . Moorland bird surveys 
in Glen Clunie and Mar Lodge, Grampian Region, 1 99 1 . 
Joint Nature Conservation Committee Report. No 1 7. 
Buckland S T. Bell M V & Picozzi N (Eds) 1990. The 
Birds of North-East Scotland. North-East Scotland Bird 
Club. Aberdeen. 

Cramp S 1988. The Birds of the Western Palearctic, Vol 
5:939-948. Oxford. 

Crick H Q P 1992. A bird habitat coding system for use 
in Britain and Ireland incorporating aspects of land- 
management and human activity. Bird Study 39: 1-12. 
Francis I. Craib J K & Rebecca G W 1999. Birds oj the 
Moray moors : distribution, numbers and status changes. 
Unpublished report to the RSPB. 
Geological Survey 1957. Geological Map ofGi eat Britain 
sheet 1 second edition. Geological Survey of Great Britain. 
Chessington. 

Gibbons D W. Avery M. Baillie S. Gregory R. Kirby J. 

Porter R. Tucker G & Williams G 1996-. Bird species of 

conservation concern in the United Kingdom. Channel 

Islands and the Isle of Man : revising the Red Data List. 

RSPB Conservation Review 10:7-18. 

Gibbons D W. Avery M I & Brown A F 1 996 h . Population 

trends of breeding birds in the United Kingdom since 

1800. British Birds 89:291-305. 

Hill D 1993. Ring Ouzel. In The New Atlas of Breeding 

Birds: 1988-1991:312-313. BLO/SOC/IWC. Poyser, 

London. 

Hurford C 1996. The decline of the Ring Ouzel Turdus 
torquatus breeding population in Glamorgan. Welsh Birds 
1:45-51. 

M°Knight A. O'Brien M. Waterhouse M & Reed S 1997. 
Breeding birds of the north Staffordshire moors 1996. 
Unpublished report to the RSPB. 
Mountains to Marine Bird Survey Team 1999. Mar 
Lodge estate breeding bird survey 1998. Unpublished 
report to the National Trust for Scotland. 
Nethersole-Thompspon D & Watson A 1981. The 
Cairngorms: their natural history and scenery. Melvin 
Press Perth. 

Poxton I R 1986. Breeding Ring Ouzels in the Pentland 
Hills. Scottish Birds 14:44-48. 



SB 22(1) 



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Britain and In land. BTO/1WC, Poyser, Berkhamsted. 
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Sim 1, Duncan J, Duncan R, RebeccaG & Rendall 1 2000. 
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ecology of Ring Ouzels Tardus torquatus in Wales with 
reference to soil acidity. Welsh Bird Report 1 : 78-89. 
Walker A D, Campbell G C B, Heslop REF, Gauld J H, 
LaingD,ShipleyBM& Wright GG 1982. Soil and Land 
Capability for Agriculture : Eastern Scotland. Macaulay 
Institute for Soil Research, Aberdeen. 
Wotton S R, Langston R H W & Gregory R D Submitted 
to Bird Study. The breeding status of the Ring Ouzel 
Turdus torquatus in the U K in 1999. 



Graham W Rebecca, RSPB, lOAlbyn Terrace, Aberdeen AB10 1YP 

Revised manuscript accepted October 2000 




Ring Ouzel William Brotherston 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Ring Ouzels in 2 areas of upper Deeside between 1991 & 1998 17 



Appendix 1 Changes in Ring Ouzel numbers from comparable studies (from RSPB 1998, SAP 
1186 Ring Ouzel). 



Wales 



Location 


Year 


Pairs 


Change (Period) 


Source 


Mynydd Hiraethog. 


1977 


5 








Denbighshire 


1995 





-100% 


(1977-95) 


RSPB surveys 


Elenydd, Ceredigion 


1975 


13 










1995 


6 


-54% 


(1975-95) 


RSPB surveys 


Mynydd Du, 


1978 


17 








Carmarthenshire 


1992 


8 


-53% 


(1978-92) 


RSPB & CCW surveys 




1996 


1 2 


-29% 


(1978-96) 


RSPB & CCW surveys 


Glamorgan 


1950 


3 










1980 


27 


-78% 


(1980-95) 






1995 


6 


+ 100% 


(1950-95) 


Hurford 1996 


North Staffordshire 


1985 


61 










1992 


18 






Bnndley et al 1992 




1996 


5 


-92% 


(1985-96) 


Mc Knight et al 199/ 


Haweswater. 


1989 


21 








Cumbria 


1995 


14 






RSPB Nature 




1995 


1 1 


-48% 


(1989-97) 


Reserve records 


Geltsdale, Cumbria 


1975-77 


2X 










1987-89 


12 






RSPB Nature 




1993-95 


16 


-43% 


(1975-95) 


Reserve records 


Dartmoor (sample) 


1979 


13 










1992 


17 


+31% 


(1979-92) 


RSPB surveys 



Scotland Moorfoot, Pentland 1986 37 

& Lammermuir Hills 1 997 22 
Borders & Lothian 

Ettrick & Moorfoot 1994 20 

Hills, Borders 1997 13 

Glen Esk, Angus 1992 25 

1996 23 



Poxton 1987 
Sim 1997 

-40% (1986-97) 

local records 
-35% (1994-97) Sim 1997 

-8% (1992-96) D Arthur in litt 



18 G W Rebecc a 



SB 22(1) 



Appendix 2 Regional densities in pairs per lkm 2 of breeding Ring Ouzel from comparable studies 
(from Brown & Shepherd 1991*). 



Region 


Year 


Overall 


Density in 


Maximum 






density 


occupied 


number per 








lkm squares 


lkm 2 


Glen Clunie 


1991 


0.96 


2.00 


5 


Mar Lodge 


1991 


0.08 


1.18 


1 


Angus 


1989 


0.60 


2.53 


5 


Aberdeenshire 


1989 


0.14 


1.33 


3 


Ayrshire 


1989 


0.02 


1.20 


1 


South Strathclyde 


1990 


0.04 


1.00 


1 


Dumfries & Galloway 


1990 


0.08 


1.76 


3 


North Pennines 


1989 


0.15 


1.14 


2 


South Pennines 


1990 


0.17 


1.55 


5 



* Absent from Shetland ( 1986), Lewis ( 1987) and Morayshire (1989) during similar studies. 




Mike hmes 



Scottish Birds (2001 ) 



Appendix 3 An estimate of habitat types to the nearest 5 hectares for each one km square or part 
square in the Glen Clunie (A) and Mar Lodge (B) study areas which held Ring Ouzels in 1998 and 
the number of pairs in 1991 and 1998. 



lkm 2 number of pairs area surveyed habitat (ha) in 1998 



n i i m hpr 

11U111UC1 


1991 

1771 


1 99S 




i~z i^j 


vj i l>z 


! > 1 


El 


E2 11 


12 


i 
i 


A 
-f 


J 


i 


c 

J 


41 ) 




15 


40 




2 


1 
1 


I 
1 


U.J 


J zu 


_ J 










7 
J 


a 

j 


■3 
J 


1 

1 




/U 1U 






10 




A 


i. 
j 




1 
1 


1 1 1 


1 z 

ID 




10 




5 


J 


i 
i 


9 

z 


1 
1 


i c 
l j 


on 
OU 








5 


fS 

\j 


_ 


1 


W.J 






<+j 






5 


7 


4 


f. 
' i 


1 








1 1 1 


20 10 




c 

O 






1 

1 




fin 








20 


Q 


1 
i 


1 


1 
1 






(HI 






10 


1 
i u 


J 


1 


U.J 






M ) 








i i 
1 1 


A 




i 


^ 1 n 
J 1 u 


Zj 








60 


12 


1 


1 


0.5 


10 


30 








10 


13 


1 


2 


1 


10 


55 






5 


30 


1 A 
14 


i 
i 




0.75 


30 








1 5 


30 


15 


2 


2 


1 


25 50 


20 






5 




16 


3 


5 


1 




70 


10 






20 


17 


1 


1 


1 


80 


5 






10 


5 


18 


1 


1 


1 




65 


10 




5 


20 


19 


1 


3 


1 


1 5 


60 






15 


10 


20 


1 


4 


1 


20 45 


20 






10 5 




21 


1 


4 


0.75 




30 


15 




15 


15 


Zz 


t 


3 


I 


1 A 

1 1 ) 


Vl \ 

80 








5 


Totals 


42 


59 


19.5 


185 200 


875 15 


220 


35 


55 120 


240 










385 


1110 






90 360 


B 




















23 


1 


1 


1 


20 


50 


20 






10 


24 




1 


1 


10 


70 






5 


15 


Totals 


1 


2 


2 


30 


120 


2(1 




5 


25 










30 


140 






30 




Habitats from BTO codes to levels 1 and 2 


(Crick 1992 


) as follows 


:C2 


semi 


natural grass moc 



grass moor mixed with heather, Dl dry heath and D2 wet heath, both dominated by Heather Calluna 
and Erica, D3 mixed wet and dry heath. El apparently improved grassland, E2 apparently unim- 
proved grassland, II cliff and crag, 12 scree and boulder slope, F2 ski centre buildings. 



20 Scottish Birds (2001) 22:20-27 



SB 22(1) 



The distribution of Crested Tits in Scotland during the 1990s 

R W SUMMERS & M CANHAM 

The distribution of the Crested Tit was reviewed using records collected during 1992-99. 
Records were obtained from 114 woods or sites and 79 10km squares. Individual 
woods were listed, thereby identifying those for potential conservation management. 
Inspection of the data from the 2 breeding atlas projects, the winter atlas and a previous 
survey of Crested Tits, compared with the current survey, showed that the distribution 
has changed little. The differences between numbers of recorded 10km squares in this 
survey compared with the atlas surveys are probably due to differences in observer 
effort. 



Introduction 

Within Britain, the Crested Tit Parus cristatus 
scoticus is restricted to parts of the Highlands of 
Scotland where it inhabits ancient native Scots 
Pine Pimts sylvestris forests and Scots Pine 
plantations (Cook 1982, Summers etal 1999). It 
is amber listed in the Birds of Conservation 
Concern because 50% or more of the breeding 
population is in 10 or fewer sites (Gibbons et al 
1996). Crested Tits are resident in Scotland, with 
pairs occupying territories throughout the year 
(Summers 1998). Young leave parental territories 
to join other pairs and form social groups through 
to the next breeding season (Ekman 1979). The 
movements of the young birds tend to be only a 
few kms (Deadman 1973). Therefore, any long 
term shifts in distribution are likely to be due to 
modification of their habitat or changes in 
population size. 

The Crested Tit's distribution in Scotland is broadly 
known from the 2 breeding season atlas projects 
(ShaiTOck 1976, Gibbons et al 1993). The main 
areas are Strathspey, the coastal plain of Moray 
and East Ross, the Great Glen and the Beauly 
catchment. Crested Tits were recorded as being 



present in 46 1 0km squares during the first survey 
( 1 968-72 ), and in 5 1 during the second ( 1 988-9 1 ) 
(Sharrock 1976, Gibbons etal 1993). As well as 
the 1 1% increase in the number of 10km squares 
occupied, there were some changes in distribution, 
including losses from Ross and Sutherland and 
from around Loch Laggan, and gains in Glen 
Garry and down the Great Glen towards Fort 
William (Cook, in Gibbons et al 1993). 

In addition to the breeding surveys, its winter 
distribution was mapped by Lack (1986) during 
1981/2-1983/4. Forty six 10km squares were 
recorded as being occupied. When compared 
with the first breeding atlas, there were 9 10km 
squares in lower Speyside which had breeding 
records but no winter records. Cook (in Lack 
1986) suggested that poorer coverage during the 
winter survey explained this gap. 

In a single species survey of Crested Tits, Cook 
(1982) reduced the recording unit to a 5km square. 
Records were received from 78 5km squares during 
the breeding season. This comprised 45 10km 
squares. 

Thus, all previous surveys of Crested Tits have i 



I, 



Scottish Birds {2001} The distribution of Crested Tits in Scotland during the 1990s 21 



shown a similar distribution and a similar number 
of occupied 10km squares (46. 51, 46 and 45 
respectively). 

None of the surveys to date involved recording 
which woods were occupied by Crested Tits. The 
aim of the present survey was. therefore, to describe 
! their distribution at the level of different woods, as 
t this is more valuable for the conservation of the 
species. We also collated information at the 10km 
scale in order to allow comparisons with the 
earlier atlases. 

Methods 

The presence of Crested Tits in woods was obtained 

from Forest Enterprise and RSPB staff, other 
| birdwatchers and annual Scottish Bird Reports 

(Murray 1992-1999). We used all records made 
! during 1992-99 regardless of season, so did not 

use records obtained during the latter phase of the 

second breeding atlas (1990-91 ). 

Specific searches were made of the 1 0km squares 
which previously had records. A tape recording of 
the trill call of the Crested Tit was broadcast with 
a mini loudspeaker when searching woods. 

Results 

Crested Tits were recorded from 1 14 woods or 
sites and 79 10km squares (Figs 1 and 2. Table 1 ). 
If a Crested Tit was recorded in a wood, then the 
whole wood was marked in Figure 1 . even if only 
part of the wood was suitable for Crested Tits. 

Occupied areas included the woodlands of upper 
Strathspey, particularly the ancient native 
pinewoodsof Rothiemurchus. Inshriach. Glenmore 
Forest. Glen Feshie and Abernethy Forest. 
Plantations in lower Strathspey and coastal and 
inland woods along the south side of the Moray 
Firth were also occupied. The Bin of Cullen was the 
furthest east site. In East Ross, many of the woods 



on the coastal plain were occupied. The most 
northerly woods were Clynelish Moss on the coast 
and Shin Forest inland. The other main area was the 
Great Glen and the glens that run off to the west: 
Glen Urquhart. Glen Moriston and Glen Garry. 
Crested Tits were present in most of the glens of the 
Beauly catchment: Strathfarrar. Glen Cannich and 
Glen Affric. 

The record from the Doire Darach native pinewood 
in Argyll is exceptional since it is 45 km south of 
the next occupied wood at Gairlochy. Similarly, 
the record on the northwest coast of West Ross, 
from the winter atlas (Lack 1 986) is well away (50 
km) from the next occupied wood. 

Three birds were recorded at Morrone. near 
Braemar in 1 996 and there was a single bird at the 
Linn of Dee during 1 998 and 1 999. These locations 
in upper Deeside suggested that Crested Tits had 
moved round the southern part of the Cairngorms. 
The nearest occupied wood in Glen Feshie was 20 
km away. 

Not all records were from woodland. Three birds 
were mist netted in Reed Phragmites australis 
beds. Two were trapped at Loch Eye. East Ross- 
shire, on 8 April and 25 June 1996, and one 
juvenile was caught at Loch Spynie. Moray on 22 
July 1 989. Also. 2 were seen at a garden feeder at 
Stripside. Mulben west of Keith in July 1996 (I 
Francis pers comm). 

Discussion 

It is likely that the Crested Tit distribution once 
matched that of the Caledonian forest which 
extended over much of Highland Scotland 5000 
years ago (Bennett 1988). and its range shrunk as 
this natural forest was cleared and/or receded 
naturally when the climate became wetter (Steven 
& Carlisle 1959, Tipping 1994). Planting of 
pinewoods. during the twentieth century has 
allowed the birds to regain some of their former 



22 R W Summers & M Canham 



SB 22(1) 



Figure 1 The distribution of Crested Tits in Scotland. The outlines are the boundaries of woods in 
the Highlands. Black indicates woods which had Crested Tits during 1992-99. The records from 
Deeside and Doire Darach were not included. 




range, and also spread to areas previously 
unoccupied by pine forests, eg on the dunes where 
Culbin, Roseisle and Lossie Forests now grow. 

The absence of the Crested Tit as a breeding bird 
in Deeside is one of the noticeable features of the 
distribution. There have been records during the 
1930's, 1950's and 1970s (Knox 1983, Grant 
1984) and a few birds in the 1990s, but these 
colonists have not become established as breeders 



despite apparently suitable habitat. Presumably 
the Cairngorms present too great a barrier for 
sufficient numbers of Crested Tits to cross to 
becomeestablished in Deeside. Anotherpossibility 
is that Crested Tits could colonise Deeside from 
the populations currently present in Banffshire. 
However, the plantations between the coastal 
forests of Banffshire and Donside are mainly of 
Sitka Spruce Picea sitchensis which are unsuitable 
for Crested Tits (Summers et al 1999). Also, the 1 



i 



Scottish Birds (2001 > 



The distribution of Crested Tits in Scotland during the 1990s 23 



Figure 2 The distribution of Crested Tits in Scotland. Filled circles indicated occupied 10km squares 
during 1992-99. Open circles refer to records from any of the previous surveys, but unrecorded in 
the present survey. 




tits seem to be at a low density in the woods that 
are occupied in Banffshire (Francis 1996), so the 
potential for expansion is not great. 

Inspection of the data from the 3 atlas surveys 
shows that although Crested Tits were recorded in 
a total of 75 10km squares, only 22 were common 
to all 3 atlases (Table 1 ). This suggests that the 
atlases did not provide a complete assessment of 
the distribution. Our increased effort in searching 



revealed that Crested Tits were still present in 
squares which had no records during one or more 
of the atlas surveys. We failed to find Crested Tits 
in 14 1 0km squares where at least one of the past 
surveys had located birds. We searched all of 
these except NC01 in West Ross. The only area 
that appears to have lost Crested Tits since the first 
atlas survey is the forests around Loch Laggan and 
Glen Spean (Fig 2). 



24 R W Summers & M Canham 



SB 22(1) 



Table 1 10km squares with records of Crested Tits during the 2 breeding atlas projects, the winter 
atlas, the survey by Cook (1982), and the present survey. Records away from woodland were not 
included. 



1 Okm 
squart 

NC01 
NC50 
NH12 
NH13 
NH20 
NH22 
NH23 
NH26 
NH32 
NH33 

NH43 
NH44 
NH45 
NH46 
NH48 
NH52 
NH53 
NH54 
NH55 
NH56 
NH57 
NH58 
NH59 
NH62 
NH63 
NH64 
NH65 
NH66 
NH67 
NH70 
NH72 
NH73 
NH75 
NH76 
NH77 



First 
Breeding 
Atlas 



Seeond 

Breeding 

Atlas 



Winter Atlas Cook 



Woods and sites occupied during 
1992-99 



Glen Affric 
Glen Cannich 
Glen Garry 

Glen Affric, Guisachan Forest 
Glen Cannich, Strathfarrar 
Strath Bran 
Fasnakyle, Tomich 
Strathglass, Strathfarrar, Glen 
Cannich 

Boblainy Forest, Polmaily 
Aigas 

Rogie, Kinellan 



Abriachan, Loch Battan 

Rheindown Wood, The Aird 

Monadh Mor 

Blackrock Gorge 

Ardross Forest 

Clas a' Bhaid Choille 

Carbisdale, Shin Forest 

Drummossie Muir 

Ord Hill, Craig Phadrig 

Millbuie 

Millbuie 

Kinrive Wood 

Craigbui Wood 

Meall Mor 

Millbuie 

Kinrive Wood, Scotsburn Wood, 
Lamington Park, Pitmaduthy 
Moss, Morangie Forest 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



The distribution of Crested Tits in Scotland during the 1990s 25 



NH78 

NH79 
NH80 
NH81 
NH82 

NH84 
NH85 
NH90 
NH91 

NH92 

NH93 
NH94 

NH95 

NH96 

NJOO 

NJOl 

NJ02 

NJ03 
NJ04 

NJ05 
NJ06 
NJ11 
NJ13 
NJ14 
NJ15 

NJ16 
NJ23 
NJ24 
NJ25 
NJ26 
NJ33 
NJ35 

NJ36 
NJ46 
NN18 



Morangie Forest. Tarlogie Wood. 
Camore Wood 
The Alders 

Alvie, Kincraig, Inshriach Forest 
Kinveachy Forest 
Baddengorm Woods, In verlaidnan 
Hill. Beananach Wood 
Kirkton of Barevan 
Carse Wood 

Rothiemurchus, Glenmore Forest 
Glenmore Forest. Abernethy 
Forest, Loch Vaa 
CaiTbridge. Lochanhully, Curr 
Wood. Lochgorm 
Lochindorb 

Airdire, Ballindore, Kronyhillock, 

Dulsie Wood 

Darnaway Forest 

Culbin Forest 

Glenmore Forest 

Abernethy Forest 

Craigmore Wood, Cromdale. 

CoiTiechullie, Grantown Wood 

Cam Luig. Upper Tom vaich Wood 

Feakirk. Glenernie, Braemoray 

Lodge 

Darnaway Forest, Altyre Woods 
Culbin Forest 

Hill of Dalnapot/ ScootMore 
Elchies Forest 

Hill of the Wangie, Monaughty 
Wood 

Burghead, Roseisle 
Morinsh 

Daughof Edinville, Elchies Forest 
Lossie Forest 

Wood of Ordiequish, Whiteash 

Hill Wood 

Bogmoor 

Bin of Cullen 

Gairlochy 



26 R W Summers & M Canham 



SB 22(1) 



NN48 3 1 

NN57 3 

NN58 1 2 1 

NN59 3 3 Black Wood 

NN69 1 1 StrathMashie, Cam a' Bhadain 

NN79 1 3 I Drumguish 

NN89 1 2 2 I Glen Feshie, Badan Mosach, 

Coille an Ton- 
New 10km squares identified during the 1990s 

NC5 1 West Shinness, North Dalchork 

NC80 Clynelish Moss 

NH10 Glen Garry 

NH16 Strathbran Plantation 

NH31 Inchnacardoch Forest, Inverwick 

Forest 

NH35 Little Scatwell 

NH36 Loch Luichart 

NH42 Glen Urquhart, Glen Coiltie 

NH69 Maikle Wood 

NH74 Daviot Wood, Culloden Forest 

NH87 Loch Eye (Bogbain Moor) 

NH89 Ferry Links 

NN19 Glen Garry 

NN24 Doire Darach 

NO08 Linn of Dee 

NO 1 8 Morrone 



Notes: First Breeding Atlas: 1 , confirmed breeding; 2, probable breeding; 3, possible breeding. Second 
Breeding Atlas: 1, evidence of breeding; 2, present. Winter Atlas. 1 , 9+ birds; 2, 3-8; 3, 1-2. Cook's 
( 1982) survey: 1, present 



We cannot be certain that woods with no records 
of Crested Tits do not contain them. If they are at 
a low density it is quite possible not to see or hear 
any during a full day 's search in a wood. Therefore, 
the number of woods known to have Crested Tits 
is likely to be an underestimate. The total number 
of 1 0km squares which have had records in the last 
30 years is now 93. 



By identifying many of the woods where Crested 
Tits occur, conservation action can be directed at 
those sites. Plantations have densities of Crested 
Tits about 10 times lower than that found in 
ancient native pinewoods (Summers et al 1999), 
so there is clearly scope to increase densities in 
plantations through suitable management 
(Summers 2000). 



Scottish Birds 1 2001 ) 



The distribution of Crested Tits in Scotland during the 1990s 27 



Acknowledgements 

We are extremely grateful to all who provided 
records for this survey, and in particular, the staff 
of Forest Enterprise and RSPB. The drafts were 
commented on by IP Bainbridge. I Francis. D 
Gibbons. D Jardine. B Kalejta-Summers and M 
Thompson. 

References 

Bennett KD 1988. The post glacial history of Pinus 
sylvestris in the British Isles. Quaternary Science 
Reviews 3: 133-155. 

Cook MJH 1982. Breeding status of the Crested Tit. 
Scottish Birds 12: 97-106. 

Deadman AJ 1973. A population study of the Coal Tit 
Pants ater and Crested Tit Parus cristatus in a Scottish 
pine plantation. PhD Thesis. University of Aberdeen. 
Ekman J 1979. Coherence, composition and territories 
of winter social groups of the Willow Tit Parus montanus 
and the Crested Tit Parus cristatus. Omis Scandium ica 
10: 56-68. 

Francis I 1996. Crested Tits in the frontier zone. North- 
East Scotland Bird Report 1996: 86-87. 
Gibbons DW. Reid JB & Chapman RA 1993. The New 
Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland: 1988- 
1991. Poyser. London. 



Gibbons D. Avery M. Baillie S. Gregory R. Kirby J. 
Porter R. Tucker G & Williams G 1996. Bird Species of 
Conservation Concern in the United Kingdom. Channel 
Islands and Isle of Man: revising the Red Data List. 
RSPB Conseration Review 10: 7-18. 
Grant JP 1984. Crested Tits on Deeside. Scottish Birds 
13: 54-55. 

Knox A 1983. The Crested Tit on Deeside. Scottish 
Birds 12: 255-258. 

Murray R (ed) 1992-99. Scottish Bird Reports 1990- 
1997. 

Lack P 1 986. The Atlas of Wintering Birds in Britain and 
Ireland. Poyser, Calton. 

Sharrock JTR 1976. The Atlas oj Breeding Birds in 

Britain and In land. Poyser. Berkhamsted. 

Steven HM & Carlisle A 1959. The Native Pinewoods <>t 

Scotland. Oliver & Boyd. Edinburgh. 

Summers RW 1998. Territory sizes of Crested Tits at 

Abernethy Forest. Strathspey. Scottish Birds 19: 177- 

179. 

Summers RW (2000). The habitat requirements of the 
Crested Tit Parus cristatus in Scotland. Scottish Forestry 
54: 197-201. 

Summers RW. Mavor RA. Buckland ST & MacLennan 
AM 1999. Winter population size and habitat selection 
of Crested Tits Pants cristatus in Scotland. Bird Stiuh 
46: 230-242. 

Tipping R 1994. The form and late of Scotland's 
woodlands. Proceedings oj the Society oj . {ntiquaries of 
Scotland 124: 1-54. 



Ron Summers, RSPB Scotland, Etive House, Beechwood Park, Inverness, IV2 3BW 
Mick Canham, Forest Enterprise, Balnacoul, Fochabers, Morayshire IV32 7LL 



Revised manuscript accepted October 2000 




Crested Tit and fledgling 



Ernest Ruxton 



28 Scottish Birds (2001) 22:28-30 



SB 22(1) 



Western Capercaillie captures in snares 

P COSGROVE & J OSWALD 

Details of 17 incidents involving the deaths of 46 birds are recorded. The true figure is 
likely to be considerably higher. It is recomended that snares are not set under the 
canopy in areas used by Western Capercaillie. 



The snare is a widely used tool in the farmlands, 
woodlands and uplands of Scotland for controlling 
a number of pest species, but especially Foxes 
Vulpes vulpes. Snaring is subject to domestic 
legal restrictions under the Wildlife and 
Countryside Act 1981. Recently, concern has 
been expressed about the impact of accidental 
captures of Western Capercaillie Tetraourogallus 
in woodland snares ( K Kortland pers comm.). The 
purpose of this short paper is to detail known 
instances of Western Capercaillie captures in snares 
and raise awareness of the potential threat posed 
by woodland snares to remnant populations of 
Western Capercaillie. 

The Western Capercaillie is a threatened and 
declining species in Scotland ( UK Biodiversity 
Steering Group 1995). Field work carried out in 
Scotland in 1992-94 suggested a population 
estimate of c2200birds (Catt et al 1998), which 
declined by 51% to an estimate of 1073 birds in 
1998-99 (Wilkinson et al 1999). This dramatic 
decline, which began long before 1992, has been 
attributed to a number of factors, the most important 
of which include: loss of native pinewood, 
collisions with fences, over shooting and human 
disturbance, inappropriate grazing regimes in 
woodlands, predation and an increase in adverse 
weather conditions during the spring. The relative 
importance of these factors probably varies 
between forests and even between years (D Baines 
pers comin ) 

The Fox is a major predator of several species of 
game bird. However, there are no reliable data 



from studies of Western Capercaillie in Scotland 
that permit adequate quantification of their impact. 
Foxes are managed by a variety of methods, which 
include snaring, shooting at night, bolting from 
earths using terriers and hunting with dogs (D 
Baines pers comm). Most Foxes are killed in snares 
and snares set for Foxes can inadvertently catch and 
kill Western Capercaillie. For example. Moss 
( 1 987 ) investigated the demography of Western 
Capercaillie in Northeast Scotland and reported on 
approximately a dozen birds, most of which had 
been killed by snaring. No formal recording of 
snaring incidents is known to have taken place, but 
we have received a number of anecdotal reports 
from members of the public, estate workers, and 
gamekeepers in confidence and would like to thank 
all those who provided this information. 

Although there are few documented accounts of 
snaring and Western Capercaillie, the information 
summarised in Table 1 suggests that Western 
Capercaillie captures in Fox and Rabbit snares 
may be a widespread and largely under recorded 
problem. Indeed, some gamekeepers suggested 1 
that the data presented in Table 1 was likely to j 
represent the 'tip of the iceberg', as many people 
would be reticent about supplying information on 
their accidental snare captures. The most recent 
incidences were reported after gamekeepers \ 
changed pest management practices to include I 
snaring in woodlands. In most examples, the birds |j 
were trapped within a very short period of the ! 
snares being laid, often within 24 hours. In many 
of these instances, the gamekeepers immediately | 
stopped snaring in the woodlands and turned to ; 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Western Capercaillie captures in snares 29 



Table 1 Reported records of Western Capercaillie captures in snares in Scotland. 



Location, method and date Number of birds killed 

Strathspey. 1960s. Several Rabbit/Fox snares laid in old 

Caledonian forest. 7 birds killed. Snares left operating. 

Deeside. 1968. 5 Fox snares placed around a midden in 2 cocks killed on first morning. 

Commercial pine plantation. Snares removed. 

Deeside. 1968. 5 Fox snares placed around a midden in old 3 cocks killed in a week. Snares 

Caledonian forest. removed. 

Deeside. 1968. Several Fox snares placed along Fox track in 1 cock killed on first morning in one 

two thicket stage commercial plantations. wood. 1 cock and 1 hen killed on 

first morning in other woodland. 

Snares removed. 

Deeside. 1976. Snares set throughout commercial plantation. 1 cock killed. Snares left operating. 

Strathspey. 1975-2000. Many Fox snares set throughout At least 6 Capercaillie reported 

commercial plantations and old Caledonian woodland killed in snares, 
on estate. 

Deeside. March 1980. 30 Hare snares placed in old 3 hens killed on first morning. 

Caledonian forest. Snares removed. 

Badenoch. 1982. Rabbit snare. 1 cock killed. 

Deeside. October 1989. Snares set parallel to a deer fence 

c400m uphill from a lek site. 1 cock killed. 

Deeside. 1992. Several Rabbit snares placed on the edge of 

commercial plantation. 1 cock killed. Snares left operating. 

Deeside. 1990s. No further details. 5 birds killed 
Donside. March 1993. Snares set along a deer fence 

between 2 estates 150m from a lek site. 1 cock killed. 
Strathspey. 1993. Several Fox snares set in gaps along a 

fence by a commercial plantation. 2 cocks killed. Snares left operating. 
Deeside. 1996. Snares set in parallel to deer fence c550m 

from a lek site. 1 cock killed. 

Donside. 1997. No further details, 2 cocks killed one spring, 1 cock killed following spring. 
Deeside. 1998. Fox snares set alon2 a fence line near to 

1 Capercaillie lek in old Caledonian forest. 5 cocks killed and lek wiped out. 
Strathspey. 1999. Several Fox snares set in commercial 

plantation. 1 cock killed. 



SB 22(1) 



alternative pest control methods. This suggests 
that snaring in Western Capercaillie woodlands, 
even for relatively short periods, may have 
dramatic, detrimental and unforeseen impacts on 
local Western Capercaillie populations. 

Interestingly, during the research for this short 
note, the accidental capture of Black Grouse Tetrao 
tetrix in woodlands was reported only once, in 
Ayrshire. It is not known why Western Capercaillie 
appear to be particularly susceptible to capture in 
woodland snares, but it seems likely that their 
inquisitive nature and extensive use of forest 
tracks and animal trails has led them into areas 
where snares have been used. It is difficult to 
quantify the impact of snaring on Western 
Capercaillie populations, but even with the 
relatively small number of incidents reported here 
(17 known incidents Table 1 ) it is clear that 
snaring can be a very effective and quick method 
of killing birds (46 birds Table 1). The ease at 
which Western Capercaillie can be snared was 
used in Strathspey during the 1960-70s when 
locals caught dozens of birds annually in snares 
specifically set to catch Western Capercaillie 
around stooks in oat fields for eating. As Western 
Capercaillie populations continue to dwindle and 
become more isolated from one another, the role 
of chance events, such as dying in snares, may 
become important in small populations. 

In a recent report to the Scottish Executive, Forestry 
Commission and Scottish Natural Heritage, Petty 
(2000) recommended extending crow and Fox 
control to some key Western Capercaillie sites in 
Scotland. Although this review made passing 
reference to the impact on non target species. 



including Western Capercaillie, it suggested that 
snaring appeared to be one of the most effective 
Fox control methods available. We consider it 
very important that this recent guidance does not 
encourage Fox snaring within Western Capercaillie 
woodlands. Where Fox control is considered 
necessary, target specific control methods should 
be used to avoid the potential problems associated 
with the accidental snaring of Western Capercaillie. 
The recent announcement by the British 
Association for Shooting and Conservation to 
review the guidance given in their 'Fox snaring: 
a code of conduct' BASC 2000 for Western 
Capercaillie woodlands is good news. It is hoped 
that other estate and forestry managers will take 
the lead and eliminate fox snaring inside the 
remaining Scottish Capercaillie woodlands. 

References 

Biodiversity Steering Group. 1995. Biodiversity: the 
UK Steering Group Report. Vol 2 Action Plans, HMSO. 
British Association tor Shooting and Conservation. 2000. 
Green Shoots. The Contribution of shooting to 
Biodiversity in the UK. 

Catt D C, Baines D, Picozzi N, Moss R and Summers, R 
W 1998. Abundance and distribution of capercaillie 
Tetrao urogallus in Scotland 1992-94. Biologieal 
Conservation 85:257-267. 

Moss R 1987. Demography of Capercaillie Tetrao 
urogallus in north east Scotland. II. Age and sex 
distribution. Ornis Scandinavica 18:135-140. 
Petty S J 2000. Capercaillie. A review of research 
needs. Unpublished report to the Scottish Executive, FC 
and SNH. 

Wilkinson N I, Langston R H W, Gregory R D, Summers 
R W. Gibbons D W and Marquiss M 1999. Abundance 
and habitat use of capercaillie Tetrao urogallus in 
Scotland in winter 1998-1999. Unpublished RSPB 
report. 



Peter Cosgrove, 11 The Square, Grantown on Spey, Morayshire PH26 3HG 
Jimmy Oswald, Newton Farmhouse, Dinnet, Aboyne, Aberdeenshire AB34 5PE 

Revised manuscript accepted November 2000 



Scottish Birds (2001 ) 22:3 1 -32 



Amendments to the Scottish List 



RONALD W FORRESTER 
for the SCOTTISH BIRDS RECORDS COMMITTEE 



The Scottish List of species was first published in Scottish Birds 1994, with subsequent 
amendments in 1996, 1998 and 2000. 



The 27th Report of the British Ornithologists' 
Union's Records Committee (BOURC) (Ibis 
143:171-175) includes the following decisions 
relating to the British List. 

Common Teal Anas crecca to be treated as 2 
species. 

Eurasian Teal A crecca 
Green-winged Teal A carolinensis 

Common Redpoll Cdrduelis flammea to be 
treated as 2 species. 

Lesser Redpoll C cabaret (monotypic) 
Common Redpoll C flammea (including 
Mealy Redpoll C f flammea 
Greater Redpoll C f rostrata 
Icelandic Redpoll C / islandica) 

Mediterranean Shearwater Puffinus 
yelkouan to be treated as 2 species 
Balearic Shearwater P mauritanicus 
Yelkouan Shearwater P yelkouan 

Resulting changes to the Scottish List are: 
The English name of Common Teal to be 
changed to Eurasian Teal. 
Green-winged Teal to be added to Category A. 
Lesser Redpoll to be added to Category A. 
The English name of Mediterranean Shearwater 
to be changed to Balearic Shearwater 
Yelkouan Shearwater has not occurred in 
Scotland. 



The British Birds Rarities Committee's Report on 
rare birds in Great Britain in 1999, published in 
British Birds 93:5 1 2-567, included the following 
accepted records: 

Royal Tern Sterna maxima 

Thorntonloch. Lothian, adult, 9 August 1999: 
and Musselburgh, Lothian later the same day 
(British Birds 93:538) 
1st Scottish Record add to Category A 

Mourning Dove Zenaida macroura 

Carinish, North Uist, Outer Hebrides, first 
winter. 13-15 November 1999 (British Birds 
93:539) 

1st Scottish Record add to Category A 

Eurasian Crag Martin Ptyonoprogne rupestris 
Finstown, Orkney 3 May 1999 (British Birds 
93:544) 

1 st Scottish Record add to Category A 

The following additional changes also apply: 

Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus 
Roseharty, near Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, 
juvenile, 1 1-24 September 1999 (Birding World 
12:364-370 and 12:385). Race undetermined. 
Acceptance of this record appeared as a press 
release on BOURCs website (www.bou.org.uk) 
dated 22 December 2000 and will be included 
within their 28"' Report expected to be 
published in January 2002. 
1 st Scottish Record add to Category A 



32 R W Forrester for the Scottish Birds Records Committee 



SB 22(1) 



Smew has been moved from genus Mergus to As a result of the above changes, new totals for 
Mergellus and Great Skua from Stercorarius to Scotland are: 
Catharacta. BOURC 23rd Report 1996 (Ibis 

139:197-201). Category A 473 

Category B 9 
The category for Pink-footed Goose, Snow Goose, Category C 6 
Barnacle Goose, Red-crested Pochard and White- 488 
tailed Eagle was previously dual A, D4. The 

definition for Category D has changed and they Category D 10 
are now no longer in this category, although they 
remain in Category A. They are likely to also 
feature in Category E once this has been produced 
for Scotland. 



Ronald W Forrester, Secretary Scottish Birds Records Committee, 
The Gables, Eastlands Road, Rothesay, Isle of Bute PA20 9JZ 




Scottish Birds (2001 ) 22:33-49 



Scottish List - species and subspecies 



D L CLUGSTON, R W FORRESTER, R Y McGOWAN & B ZONFRILLO 
on behalf of the SCOTTISH BIRDS RECORDS COMMITTEE 

The Scottish Birds Records Committee (SBRC) is responsible for maintaining the 
Scottish List, first published in Scottish Birds in 1994. Until now, the list has been 
based on the species level of classification. This is the first attempt by SBRC to tabulate 
all subspecies recorded in Scotland and also introduces status symbols. It is envisaged 
that this expanded list will form a baseline for future studies, will be of use as a 
conservation tool and could be used in courts of law. 



The species sequence is based on the original 
Scottish List of species as it appeared when 
published in 1994, but incorporates amendments 
contained in subsequent reports. Scottish Birds 
18:129-131, 19:259-261 and 21:1-5 plus a few 
additional changes published in a separate paper 
within this issue of Scottish Birds. 

In recent years there has been an increasing 
divergence of opinion on taxonomical matters. 
We established several principles for the original 
version of the Scottish List, which we still follow. 
The British Ornithologists' Union's Records 
Committee ( BOURC ) has maintained the official 
British List since 1883. We decided at the outset 
to follow their taxonomy, sequence and scientific 
names for the Scottish List. This approach has 
now been extended to subspecies and as a result, 
if for instance BOURC consider a species to be 
monotypic but some other authorities show 2 or 
more races, we have followed BOURC. We also 
use identical categories to BOURC and in no 
instance is a species placed in a higher category 
on the Scottish List than it appears on the British 
List. This principle now also applies to subspecies 
and therefore we do not include a subspecies on 
the Scottish List unless BOURC have accepted it 
for Britain. 



One of the advantages in basing the Scottish List 
on that used by BOURC is that it is compiled in 
a consistent manner. A consequence of this 
approach is that conservation agencies can use 
the list, in the knowledge that a rigorous process 
is undertaken during its compilation. This may 
be especially important in advising on legal issues 
whe'-e the status of an individual bird may be 
discussed in court. 

In 1998. BOURC introduced a revised 
categorisation (British Birds 91:2-11). The 
changes included a new category (Category E) 
for escapes and a redefining of the existing 
categories (A-D ). We adopted the new categories 
in our 2000 Report (Scottish Birds 21: 1-5). 
although a list of Category E species is not yet 
available. We have recently formed a sub- 
committee, with the intention of publishing a list 
of Scottish Category E species to supplement the 
existing Categories A-D. A provisional list will 
appear on the website once it is available . 

When the Scottish List was first published 
BOURC had recently altered the English names 
of a large number of species on the British List. 
Many of these new names were at that time 
considered controversial and it was decided that 
the Scottish List should adopt a more traditional 



34 SBRC 



SB 22(1) 



approach. In the intervening period there has 
been considerable debate and, whilst a few of the 
names remain disliked by many, most of the 
English names adopted by BOURC now appear 
to be accepted by the majority of birders, many of 
whom are widely travelled, preferring 
unambiguous and unique English names. We 
have always followed BOURC in all otherrespects 
and adopting their English names is therefore 
appropriate. Members of SBRC unanimously 
agreed to use the English names as they appear in 
the British List for this and all future versions of 
the Scottish List. 

Scotland has 9 endemic subspecies in addition to 
one endemic species, the Scottish Crossbill. 
When working on this list we were surprised to 
note that many of Scotland's endemic races have 
been almost completely ignored during the last 
50 years. It is our intention in the near future to 
outline known information on status, distribution 
and identification for our endemic races in an 
attempt to encourage more study. 

The work involved in preparing this list has been 
undertaken by a sub committee comprising Dave 
Clugston (Chairman, SBRC), Bob McGowan 
(SBRC's Museum Consultant), Bernie Zonfrillo 
(coopted; Chairman, SBRC 1984-1994) and 
Ron Forrester (Secretary, SBRC). 

The SOC website includes the Scottish List and 
lists of recent decisions. The website is for 
information purposes only and is not an official 
document, or part of the permanent record. Any 
announcements of changes to the Scottish List do 
not come into effect until published in Scottish 
Birds or the Scottish Bird Report, under the 
authorship of the Scottish Birds Records 
Committee. 

Whilst we now have a robust species list, 
subspecies and status symbols are appearing in 
print for the first time and we anticipate that there 



will inevitably be errors. An appendix at the end 
of the systematic list shows species and subspecies 
under consideration for inclusion on the list. We 
would be grateful for comments, particularly in 
respect of errors or omissions. 

Categories 

A Species which have been recorded in an 
apparently natural state at least once since 1 
January 1950. 

B Species which were recorded in an apparently 
natural state at least once up to 31 December 
1949, but have not been recorded subsequently. 

C Species that although originally introduced 
by man, either deliberately or accidentally, have 
established breeding populations derived from 
introduced stock, that maintain themselves 
without necessary recourse to further introduction. 
Category C has been further subdivided by 
BOURC to differentiate between various groups 
of naturalised species (CI naturalised 
introduction, C2 naturalised establishments, C3 
naturalised re establishments, C4 naturalised feral 
species, C5 vagrant naturalised species. ), although 
we await the allocation of these additional codes. 

D Species that would otherwise appear in 
Category A or B except that there is reasonable 
doubt that they ever occurred in a natural state. 
Category D species do not form any part of the 
species totals and are not regarded as members of 
the Scottish List. 

E Species that have been recorded as 
introductions, transportees or escapees from 
captivity and whose breeding populations, if any, 
are thought not to be self sustaining. Category E 
species form no part of the Scottish List. A list of 
Category E species has not yet been produced for 
Scotland. 



Scottish Birds (20011 



Scottish List - species & subspecies 35 



RB Resident breeder 

MB Migrant breeder 

IB Introduced breeder 

CB Casual breeder 



FB Former breeder 

WV Winter visitor 

PV Passage visitor 

SV Scarce visitor 



Abbreviated codes are provided for status of each 
race on the list. We have followed the standard 
set of codes used by BOURC in The Status of 
Birds in Britain and Ireland 1971. which they 
also used in Checklist of Birds of Britain and 
Ireland, 6 th edition, published in 1992. 



Where species are monotypic ie BOURC do not 
recognise any subspecies, nothing is shown in 
the subspecies column. If a subspecies has an 
established English name this is shown in 
brackets. Species appearing in Category D. all of 
which have occurred in Scotland on less than an 
annual basis, are tabulated separately, following 
the main list, without any further details on 
subspecies or status. 



Subspecies appearing in bold are endemic to Scotland. 



SYSTEMATIC LIST 



Category & Species 


Binomen 


Subspecies 


Status 


A 


Red-throated Diver 


Gavia stellata 


stellata 


MB RB WV PV 


A 


Black-throated Diver 


Gavia arctica 


arctica 


MB RB WV 


A 


Great Northern Diver 


Gavia immer 




CB WV 


A 


Yellow-billed Diver 


Gavia adamsii 




SV 


A 


Pied-billed Grebe 


Podilymbus podiceps 


podiceps (presumed) 


SV 


A 


Little Grebe 


Tachybaptus ruficollis 


ruficollis 


RB MB WV 


A 


Great Crested Grebe 


Podiceps cristatus 


cristatus 


RB WV 


A 


Red-necked Grebe 


Podiceps ghsegena 


ghsegena 


CB WV 




(American) 




holboellii 


SV 


A 


Slavonian Grebe 


Podiceps auritus 


auritus 


RB WV 


A 


Black-necked Grebe 


Podiceps nigricollis 


nigricollis 


MB/RB WV PV 


A 


Black-browed Albatross 


Diomedea melanophris 


melanophris 


SV 


A 


Northern Fulmar 


Fulmarus glacialis 


glacialis 


RB MB PV 


A 


Cory's Shearwater 


Calonecths diomedea 


bo real is 


PV 


A 


Great Shearwater 


Puffinus gravis 




PV 


A 


Sooty Shearwater 


Puffinus griseus 




PV 


A 


Manx Shearwater 


Puffinus puffinus 




MB PV 


A 


Balearic Shearwater 


Puffinus mauretanicus 




PV 


A 


Little Shearwater 


Puffinus assimilis 


baroli (presumed) 


SV 


A 


Wilson's Storm-petrel 


Oceanites oceanicus 


exasperatus (presumed) SV 


B 


White-faced Storm-petrel 


Pelagodroma marina 


hypoleuca 


SV 


A 


European Storm-petrel 


Hydrobates pelagicus 




MB PV 


A 


Leach's Storm-petrel 


Oceanodroma leucorhoa 


leucorhoa 


MB PV 


A 


Northern Gannet 


Morus bassanus 




MB RB PV 


A 


Great Cormorant 


Phalacrocorax carbo 


carbo 


RB MB 








sinensis 


SV 



36 SBRC 



SB 22(1) 



A 


European Shag 


A 


Magnificent Frigatebird 


A 


Great Bittern 


A 


American Bittern 


A 


Little Bittern 


A 


Black-crowned Night Heron 


A 


Green Heron 


B 


Squacco Heron 


A 


Cattle Egret 


A 


Little Egret 


A 


Great Egret 


A 


Grey Heron 


A 


Purple Heron 


A 


Black Stork 


A 


White Stork 


A 


Glossy Ibis 


A 


Eurasian Spoonbill 


A,C 


Mute Swan 


A 


Tundra Swan (Bewick's) 


A 


Whooper Swan 


A 


Bean Goose 




(Taiga) 




(Tundra) 


A 


Pink-footed Goose 


A 


Greater White-fronted Goose 




(European) 




(Greenland) 


A 


Lesser White-fronted Goose 


A,C Greylag Goose 


\ 


Snow Goose 




(Lesser) 




(Greater) 


A,C Canada Goose 


A 


Barnacle Goose 


A 


Brent Goose 




(Dark-bellied) 




(Pale-bellied) 




(Black Brant) 


A 


Red-breasted Goose 


B 


Ruddy Shelduck 


A 


Common Shelduck 


C 


Mandarin Duck 


A 


Eurasian Wigeon 


A 


American Wigeon 


A,C Gadwall 


A 


Eurasian Teal 


A 


Green-winged Teal 


A.C 


Mallard 



Phalacrocorax aristotelis aristotelis RB 
Fregatu magnificens SV 

Botaurus stellaris stellaris FB PV 

Botaurus lentiginosus SV 

Ixobrychus minutus minutus SV 

Nycticorax nycticorax nycticorax SV 
Butorides virescens SV 
Ardeola ralloides SV 

Bubulcus ibis ibis SV 

Egretta garzetta garzetta PV 

Ardea alba alba SV 

Ardea cinerea cinerea RB WV 

Ardea purpurea purpurea SV 
Ciconia nigra SV 

Ciconia ciconia ciconia FB PV 

Plegadis falcinellus falcinellus SV 

Platalea leucorodia leucorodia PV 
Cygnus olor RB 

Cygnus columbianus bewickii WV 
Cygnus cygnus CB WV 

Anser fabalis fabalis WV 
rossicus PV 
Anser brachyrhynchus WV 

Anser albifrons albifrons PV 
flavirostris WV 
Anser erythropus SV 

Anser anser anser RB IB WV 

Anser caerulescens caerulescens SV 
atlanticus SV 

Branta canadensis canadensis IB 
plus race or races 
undetermined SV 

Branta leucopsis WV 

Branta bernicla bernicla PV WV 

hrota PV WV 

nigricans SV 
Branta ruficollis SV 
Tadorna ferruginea SV 
Tadorna tadorna MB RB WV 

Aix galericulata IB 
Anas penelope RB WV PV 

Anas americana SV 
Anas strepera IB RB MB WV 

Anas crecca RB WV PV 

Anas caroiinensis carolinensis SV 

Anas platyrhynchos platyrhynchos RB WV 



Scottish Birds (2001 ) Scottish List - species & subspecies 37 



A 


American Black Duck 


Alias rubripe s 




s \ 


A 


Northern Pintail 


Anas acuta 




Kd or Md W V 


A 


Garsaney 


A nn ? nupvniipsi'tfin 

iillLU LfllCI 1/ IfC LI III tt 




\ \ T~) I->\ 7 

Mb FV 


A 


Blue-winsed Teal 


Anas discors 




3 \ 


A 


Northern Shoveler 


Anas clxpeata 




M £5 W V r V 


A 


Red-crested Pochard 


Netta rufina 






A 


Common Pochard 


A xtlixa ferina 




IVIo/Kd W V r V 


A 


Ring-necked Duck 


Aythyo. collaris 






A 


Ferruginous Duck 


Axthxa nxroca 




• > 


A 


Tufted Duck 


Aythyo. fuli^ula 




p d \\/\/ n\/ 
Kd W V r V 


A 


Greater Scaup 


Axthxa marila 




^ D W V rv 


A 


Lesser Scaup 


Axthxa affinis 




j N 


A 


Common Eider 


Sntnntprm ijk~)} i i wim/i 

iJl" ' 1 U I C ' IK 1 11 t'l ll.i.y 1 III c< 


fnoitissinia 


DD \\!\J 


D 






boreal is 


3 V 


A 


Kins Eider 


Soniateria spectabilis 




s V 

j V 


A 


Steller s Eider 


Polxsticta stelleri 




o V 


A 


Harlequin Duck 


Histrionicus hist fit >n uns 




J V 


A 


Long-tailed Duck 


Clan°ula hxe/nalis 




D W V 


A 


Black Scoter 










(Common) 


Melanitta nigra 


HIP Yfl 


RR/MR WV PV 

1V1IJ VV V I V 




(American) 




americana 


sv 


A 


Surf Scoter 


Melanitta perspicillaia 




WV PV 


A 


Velvet Scoter 


Melanitta fusca 


fusca 


WV PV 


A 


Bufflehead 


Bucephala albeola 




sv 


A 


Barrow's Goldeneye 


Bucephala islandica 




sv 


A 


Common Goldeneye 


Bucephala clongulo 


clangula 


RB WV PV 


A 


Smew 


Me r^ellus albcllus 




WV 


A 


Red-breasted Merganser 


I'll / cHJ J C ' < Cf I <'/ 




RB WV 


A 


Goosander 


Mp)~oii<i iyi p v o n ii kp v 

;rj c ' 5 I'J //it ' 1; CCI JC ( 


ItlPi'O/ll. KPV 
fuel gLifiJCf 


RB WV 


c 


Ruddy Duck 


Oxxura janiaicensis 


I emit 1 1 1 Ptl v> v 


1 i 1 


A 


European Honey-buzzard 


Perms apivorus 




MB PV 


A 


Black Kite 


Mdvus migrans 


If tig 1 HIM 


SV 


A,C 


Red Kite 


Milvus milvus 


milvus 


FB IB SV 


A 


White-tailed Eagle 


Haliaeetus albicilla 




FB IB SV 


A 


Eurasian Marsh Harrier 


Circus aeruginosas 


aeruginosus 


MB PV 


A 


Hen Harrier 


1 i vc ii c p\'nn p u c 


pvna pti v 

L t Li 1 1 1 It j 


RB MB PV WV 


A 


Pallid Harrier 


Circus mac rounts 




SV 


A 


Montagu's Harrier 


dfcuv nvorti'oij? 




MB PV 


A,C Northern Goshawk 


Accipiter gentilis 


gentilis 


FB IB PV 


A 


Eurasian Sparrowhawk 


A 71 1 t £> 1* J 7 1 f tJ r 

r\ C I ILflltzl tliAltj 


fllSUS 


RB PV WV 


A 


Common Buzzard 


rtlJ tP/~> fl J J TP/1 




RB 


A 


Rough-legged Buzzard 


Buteo lagopu s 


lagopus 


WV PV 


A 


Golden Eagle 


Atjiala chrxsaetos 


chr\ \ (/(■/' >.s 


RB 


A 


Osprey 


Pandion haliaetus 


haliaetus 


MB PV 


A 


Lesser Kestrel 


Falco naunumni 




^, \ 


A 


Common Kestrel 


Falco tinnunculus 


tinnunculus 


RB MB PV WV 


A 


American Kestrel 


Falco spar\ } erius 


spari'erius 


SV 


A 


Red-footed Falcon 


Falco vespertinus 




SV 


A 


Merlin 


Falco columbarius 


aesalon 
subaesalon 


RB/MB PV WV 
PV WV 



38 SBRC 



SB 22(1) 



A 


Eurasian Hobby 


Falco subbuteo 


subbuteo 




D r V 


A 


Eleonora's Falcon 


Falco eleonorae 






C\ 7 

S V 


A 


Gyr Falcon 


Falco rusticolus 






o V 


A 


Peregrine Falcon 


Falco peregrinus 


peregrinus 




KB WV FV 


A 


Willow Ptarmigan 












(Red Grouse) 


Lagopus lagopus 


scoticus 




Kb 


A 


Rock Ptarmigan 












(Scottish Ptarmigan) 


Lagopus mutus 


inilldisi 






A 


Black Grouse 


Tetrao tetrix 


britannicus 




RB 


B,C Western Capercaillie 


Tetrao urogallus 


urogallus 




FB IB 


C 


Red-legged Partridge 


Alectoris rufa 


rufa 




T D 

IB 


A,C Grey Partridge 


Perdix perdix 


perdix 




t^p 
rtS 








intraspecific 


hybrids as 


TP. 
ID 








result of introductions 




A 


Common Quail 


Coturnix coturnix 


coturnix 




MB rv 


< ' 


Common Pheasant 


Phasianus colchicus 


colchicus 




TP 
ID 








torquatus 




FIB 








intraspecific 


hybrids 


IB 


C 


Golden Pheasant 


Chrysolophus pictus 






IB 


A 


Water Rail 


Rallus aquaticus 


aquaticus 




KB PV WV 


A 


Spotted Crake 


Porzana porzana 






CB PV 


A 


Sora 


Porzana Carolina 






SV 


A 


Little Crake 


Porzana parva 






sv 


A 


Baillon's Crake 


Porzana pusilla 


intermedia 




SV 


A 


Corn Crake 


Crex crex 






MB PV 


A 


Common Moorhen 


Gallinula chloropus 


chloropus 




RB WV 


A 


Common Coot 


Fulica atra 


atra 




RB WV 


A 


Common Crane 


Grus grus 


grus 




r V 


A 


Sandhill Crane 


Orus canadensis 


canadensis 




b V 


A 


Little Bustard 


Tetrax tetrax 






SV 


B 


Houbara Bustard 


Chlamydotis undulata 


macqueenii 




SV 


A 


Great Bustard 


Otis tarda 


tarda 




SV 


A 

A 


Eurasian Oystercatcher 


Haematopus ostralegus 


ostralegus 




RB MB PV WV 


A 


Black-winged Stilt 


Himantopus himantopus 


himantopus 




SV 


A 


Pied Avocet 


Recun'irostra avosetta 






SV 


A 


Stone-curlew 


Burhinus oedicnemus 


oedicnemus 




SV 


A 


Cream-coloured Courser 


Cursorius cursor 


cursor 




SV 


A 


Collared Pratincole 


Glareola pratincola 


pratincola 




SV 


A 


Black-winged Pratincole 


Glareola nordmanni 






SV 


A 


Little Plover 


Charadrius dubius 


curonicus 




CB PV 


A 


Ringed Plover 


Charadrius hiaticula 


hiaticula 




RB MB PV WV 








tundrae 




PV WV 


A 


Killdeer 


Charadrius vociferus 


vociferus 




SV 


A 


Kentish Plover 


Charadrius alexandrinus 


alexandrinus 


SV 


A 


Greater Sand Plover 


Charadrius leschenaultii 


race undetermined 


C \ 7 
O V 


A 


Caspian Plover 


Charadrius asiaticus 






SV 


A 


Eurasian Dotterel 


Charadrius morinellus 






MB PV 


A 


American Golden Plover 


Pluvialis dominica 






SV 


A 


Pacific Golden Plover 


Pluvialis fulva 






SV 


A 


European Golden Plover 


Pluvialis apricaria 






RB MB WV PV 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Scottish List - species & subspecies 



A Grey Plover Pluvialis squatarola PV WV 

A Sociable Lapwing Vanellus gregarius SV 

A Northern Lapwing Vanellus vanellus RB MB PV WV 

A Great Knot Calidris tenuirostris SV 

A Red Knot Calidris canutus canutus PV 

islandica PV WV 

A Sanderling Calidris alba PV WV 

A Semipalmated Sandpiper Calidris pusilla SV 

A Western Sandpiper Calidris mauri SV 

A Red-necked Stint Calidris ruficollis SV 

A Little Stint Calidris minuta PV 

A Temminck's Stint Calidris temminckii CB PV 

A Least Sandpiper Calidris minutilla SV 

A White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis SV 

A Baird's Sandpiper Calidris bairdii SV 

A Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos PV 

A Sharp-tailed Sandpiper Calidris acuminata SV 

A Curlew Sandpiper Calidris ferruginea PV 

A Purple Sandpiper Calidris maritima CB PV WV 

A Dunlin Calidris alpina alpina PV WV 

schinzii MB PV WV 

arctica PV 

A Broad-billed Sandpiper Limicola falcinellus falcinellus SV 

A Stilt Sandpiper Micropalama himantopus SV 

A Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis PV 

A Ruff Philomachus pugnax PV 

A Jack Snipe Lymnocryptes minimus PV WV 

A Common Snipe Gallinago gallinago gallinago RB MB PV WV 

faeroeensis RB MB PV WV 

A Great Snipe Gallinago media SV 

A Short-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus griseus race undetermined SV 

A Long-billed Dowitcher Limnodromus scolopaceus SV 

A Eurasian Woodcock Scolopax rusticola RB MB PV WV 

A Black-tailed Godwit Limosa limosa limosa MB 

islandica MB PV WV 

A Hudsonian Godwit Limosa haemastica SV 

A Bar-tailed Godwit Limosa lapponica lapponica PV WV 

B Eskimo Curlew Numenius borealis SV 

A Whimbrel Numenius phaeopus phaeopus MB PV 

hudsonicus SV 

A Eurasian Curlew Numenius arquata arquata RB MB PV WV 

A Upland Sandpiper Bartramia longicauda SV 

A Spotted Redshank Tringa erythropus PV WV 

A Common Redshank Tringa totanus totanus RB MB PV WV 

robusru PV WV 

A Marsh Sandpiper Tringa stagnatilis SV 

A Common Greenshank Tringa nebularia RB MB PV WV 

A Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca SV 

A Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes SV 

A Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria solitaria (presumed) SV 



40 SBRC 



SB 22(1) 



A 


Green Sandpiper 


Tringa ochropus 




CB PV 


A 


Wood Sandpiper 


Tringa gloreola 




CB PV 


A 


Terek Sandpiper 


Xenus cinereus 




SV 


A 


Common Sandpiper 


Actitis hypoleucos 




MB PV 


A 


Spotted Sandpiper 


Actitis macularia 




CB SV 


A 


Grey-tailed Tattler 


Hete roscelus b re \ 1 ipes 




SV 


A 


Ruddy Turnstone 


A venavia interpres 


interpres 


PV wv 


A 


Wilson s Phalarope 


Phalciropus tricolor 




SV 


A 


Red-necked Phalarope 


Phalaropus lobuias 




MB PV 


A 


Grey Phalarope 


Phalaropus fulicarius 




PV 


,\ 


Pornarine Skua 


Stercorarius pomarinus 




PV 


A 


Arctic Skua 


Stercorarius parasiticus 




MB PV 


A 


Lon°-lailed Skua 


Stercorarius loti Qicaudus 




PV 


A 


Great Skua 


Catharacta skitu 


skua 


MB PV 


A 


Mediterranean Gull 


Lorus melanocephalus 




PV 


A 


Laushing Gull 


Lorus atricillo 




SV 


A 


Franklin s Gull 


Lorus pipixcan 




SV 


A 


Little Gull 


Lorus tninutus 




PV WV 


A 


Sabine's Gull 


Lorus sobini 




PV 


A 


Bonaparte's Gull 


Lorus Philadelphia 




SV 


A 


Black-headed Gull 


Lorus rulibiuidits 




RB MB PV WV 


A 


Ring-billed Gull 


Lorus dehtworensis 




PV WV 


A 


Mew Gull 


Lorus couus 


can us 


RB MB WV PV 


A 


Lesser-Black-backed Gull 


Lorus fuscus 


fuscus 


PV? 








qraellsii 


MB PV 








intermedins 


PV 


A 


Herring Gull 


Lorus argentatus 


argentatus 


PV WV 








argenteus 


RB 








sm 1 1 hsi >n i an us 


SV 




( Yellow-legged ) 




tnichahellis 


SV 


A 


Iceland Gull 


Lorus ifhiucoidi's 


<> la ucoides 


WV 




(Kumlien's) 




kundieni 


SV 


A 


Glaucous Gull 


Lo rus h \pc rbo reus 


hvperbo re us 


WV 


A 


Great Black-backed Gull 


Lorus inorinus 




RB WV 


A 


Ross's Gull 


Rhodostetliio rosao 




SV 


A 


Black-legged Kittiwake 


Risso 1 ridactvlo 




RB MB PV WV 


A 


Ivory Gull 


Pogophi lo cbiiruco 




SV 


A 


Gull-billed Tern 


Sterna nilotica 


nilotica 


SV 


A 


Caspian Tern 


Sterna caspia 




SV 


A 


Royal Tern 


Stcrtio maxima 


race undetermined 


SV 


A 


Lesser Crested Tern 


Ste ruo ben ^o lensis 


to r res it 


SV 


A 


Sandwich Tern 


Slcriio soudvic€nsis 


sandvicensis 


MB PV 


A 


Roseate Tern 


Sterna dougallii 


dougallii 


MB PV 


A 


Common Tern 


Sterna hirundo 


h i rioido 


MB PV 


A 


Arctic Tern 


Stcrno po rodisoeo 




MB PV 


A 


Forster's Tern 


Sterna forsteri 




SV 


A 


Bridled Tern 


Sterna anaethetus 


antarctica (presumed) 


SV 


A 


Sooty Tern 


Sterna fuscata 


fuscata 


SV 


A 


Little Tern 


Sterna albifrons 


albifrons 


MB PV 


B 


Whiskered Tern 


Cld idon ias hybrid us 


hybridus 


SV 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Scottish List - species & subspecies 41 



A 


Black Tern 


Chlidonias niger 


niger 


PV 


A 


White-winged Tern 


Chlidonias leucopterus 




SV 


A 


Common Guillemot 


Uria aalge 


aalge 


RB MB WV 








albionis 


RB MB WV 


A 


Briinnich's Guillemot 


Uria lomvia 


lomvia (presumed) 


SV 


A 


Razorbill 


Alca torda 


islandica 


RB MB WV 








torda 


WV 


B 


Great Auk 


Pinguinus impennis 




Extinct FB 


A 


Black Guillemot 


Cepphus grylle 


grylle 


RB 


A 


Little Auk 


Alle alle 


alle 


PV WV 


D 






polaris 


SV 


A 


Atlantic Puffin 


Fratercula arctica 


arctica 


PV 








grabae 


RB MB PV WV 


A 


Pallas's Sandgrousc 


Syrrhaptes paradoxus 




CB SV 


A,C Rock Pigeon 


Columba livia 


livia 


RB 


A 


Stock Pigeon 


Columba oenas 


oenas 


RB PV WV 


A 


Common Wood Pigeon 


Columba palumbus 


palumbus 


RB WV 


A 


Eurasian Collared Dove 


Streptopelia decaocto 


decaocto 


RB 


A 


European Turtle Dove 


Streptopelia turtur 


turtur 


FB PV 


A 


Oriental Turtle Dove 


Streptopelia orientalis 


orientalis (presumed) 


SV 


A 


Mourning Dove 


Zenaida macroura 


carolinensis (presumed) SV 


A 


Great Spotted Cuckoo 


Clamator glandarius 




SV 


A 


Common Cuckoo 


Cuculus canorus 


canorus 


MB PV 


A 


Black-billed Cuckoo 


Coccyzus erythrophthalmus 


SV 


A 


Yellow-billed Cuckoo 


Coccyzus americamts 




SV 


A 


Barn Owl 


Tyto alba 


alba 


RB 




(Dark-breasted) 




guttata 


SV 


A 


Eurasian Scops Owl 


Otus scops 


scops 


SV 


A 


Snowy Owl 


Nyctea scandiaca 




CB SV 


A 


Northern Hawk Owl 










(European) 


Surnia ulula 


ulula 


SV 




(American) 




caparoch 


SV 


C 


Little Owl 


Athene noctua 


vidalii 


IB 


A 


Tawny Owl 


Strix a hi co 


sylvatica 


RB 


A 


Long-eared Owl 


Asio otus 


otus 


RB PV WV 


A 


Short-eared Owl 


Asio flammeus 


flammeus 


RB MB PV WV 


A 


Tengmalm's Owl 


Aegolius funereus 


funereus 


SV 


A 


European Nightjar 


Caprimulgus europaeus 


europaeus 


MB PV 


A 


Common Nighthawk 


Chordeiles minor 


minor (presumed) 


SV 


A 


Chimney Swift 


Chaetura pelagica 




SV 


A 


White-throated Needletail 


Hirundapus caudacutus 


caudacutus 


SV 


A 


Common Swift 


Apus apus 


apus 


MB PV 


A 


Pallid Swift 


Apus pallidas 


race undetermined 


SV 


A 


Alpine Swift 


Apus melba 


melba 


SV 


A 


Little Swift 


Apus affinis 


galilejensis ( presumed ) 


SV 


A 


Common Kingfisher 


Alcedo atthis 


ispida 


RB MB 


A 


Blue-cheeked Bee-eater 


Merops superciliosus 


persicus (presumed) 


SV 


A 


European Bee-eater 


Merops apiaster 




CB SV 


A 


European Roller 


Coracias garrulus 


garrulus 


SV 


A 


1 [oopoc 


Upupa epops 


epops 


PV 



42 SBRC 



SB 22(1) 



A 


Eurasian Wryneck 


Jynx torquilla 


torquilla 


CB PV 


A 


Green Woodpecker 


Picus viridis 


viridis 


RB 


A 


Great Spotted Woodpecker 


Dendrocopos major 


major 


PV wv 








anglicus 


RB 


A 


Lesser Spotted Woodpecker 


Dendrocopos minor 


comminutus (presumed) SV 


A 


Calandra Lark 


Melanocorypha calandra 


race undetermined 


SV 


A 


Bimaculated Lark 


Melanocorypha bimaculata race undetermined 


sv 


A 


Greater Short-toed Lark 


Calandrella brachydactyk 


race undetermined 


SV 


A 


Crested Lark 


Galerida cristata 


cristata 


SV 


A 


Wood Lark 


Lullida arborea 


arborea 


SV 


A 


Sky Lark 


Alauda an>ensis 


arvensis 


RB MB PV WV 


A 


Horned Lark 


Eremophila alpestris 


flava 


CB WV 


A 


Sand Martin 


Riparia riparia 


riparia 


MB PV 


A 


Eurasian Crag Martin 


Ptyonoprogne rupestris 




SV 


A 


Barn Swallow 


Hiritndo rustica 


rustica 


MB PV 


A 


Red-rumpcd Swallow 


Hirundo daurica 


rufula 


SV 


A 


House Martin 


Delichon urbica 


urbica 


MB PV 


A 


Richard's Pipit 


Anthus novaeseelandiae 


richardi 


PV 


A 


Blyth's Pipit 


Anthus godlewskii 




SV 


A 


Tawny Pipit 


Anthus campestris 


campestris 


SV 


A 


Olive-backed Pipit 


Anthus hodgsoni 


yunnanensis 


SV 


A 


Tree Pipit 


Anthus trivialis 


trivialis 


MB PV 


A 


Pechora Pipit 


Anthus gustavi 


gustavi 


SV 


A 


Meadow Pipit 


Anthus pratensis 


pratensis 


MB RB PV WV 








whistleri 


MB or RB 


A 


Red-throated Pipit 


Anthus cervinus 




SV 


A 


Rock Pipit 


Anthus petrosus 


petrosus 


RB 




(Scandinavian) 




littoralis 


PV WV 


A 


Water Pipit 


Anthus spinoletta 


spinoletta 


PV WV 


A 


Buff-bellied Pipit 


Anthus rubescens 


rubescens 


SV 


A 


Yellow Wagtail 










(Blue-headed Wagtail) 


Motacilla flava 


flava 


CB PV 




(Yellow) 




flavissima 


MB PV 




(Ashy-headed) 




cinereocapilla 


SV 




(Sykes's) 




beema 


SV 




(Grey-headed) 




thunhergi 


SV 




(Black-headed) 




fcldegg 


SV 




(Eastern Blue-headed) 




simillima 


SV 


A 


Citrine Wagtail 


Motacilla citreola 


race undetermined 


SV 


A 


Grey Wagtail 


Motacilla cinerea 


cinerea 


RB MB PV 


A 


White / Pied Wagtail 










(White) 


Motacilla alba 


alba 


CB PV 




(Pied) 




yarrellii 


MB RB 


A 


Cedar Waxwing 


Bombycilla cedrorum 




SV 


A 


Bohemian Waxwing 


Bombycilla garrulus 


garrulus 


WV 


A 


White-throated Dipper 










(Black-bellied) 


Cinclus cinclus 


cinclus 


SV 




(British) 




gularis 


RB 




(Irish) 




hibernicus 


RB 


A 


Winter Wren 


Troglodytes troglodytes 


troglodytes 


WV PV 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Scottish List - species & subspecies 43 





(Shetland) 




zetlandicus 


RB ENDEMIC 




(Fair Isle) 




fridariensis 


RB ENDEMIC 




(Hebridean) 




hebridensis 


RB ENDEMIC 




(St Kilda) 




hirtensis 


RB ENDEMIC 








indigenus 


RB 


A 


Hedge Accentor ( Continental )Prunella /nodularis 


/nodularis 


PV wv 




(Hebridean) 




hebridium 


RB 




(British) 




occidentalis 


RB 


A 


Alpine Accentor 


Prunella collaris 


collaris 


SV 


A 


European Robin 


Erithacus rubecula 


rubecula 


PV wv 








melophilus 


RB MB 


A 


Thrush Nightingale 


Luscinia luscinia 




SV 


A 


Common Nightingale 


Luscinia megarhynchos 


megarhynchos 


SV 








hafizi 


SV 


A 


Siberian Rubythroat 


Luscinia calliope 




SV 


A 


Bluethroat 










(Red-spotted) 


Luscinia svecica 


svecica 


CB PV 




(White-spotted) 


cyanecula 


SV 




A 


Red-flanked Bluetail 


Tarsi ger cyanurus 


cyanurus 


SV 


A 


Black Redstart 


Phoenicurus ochruros 


gibraltariensis 


PV WV 


A 


Common Redstart 


Phoenicians phoenicurus 


phoenicurus 


MB PV 


A 


Whinchat 


Saxicola rubetra 




MB PV 


A 


Stonechat 


Saxicola torquata 


hibernans 


RB MB 




(Siberian) 




maura 


SV 








maura or stejnegeri 


SV 


A 


Isabelline Wheatear 


Oenanthe isabellina 




SV 


A 


Northern Wheatear 


Oenanthe oenanthe 


oenanthe 


MB PV 




(Greenland) 




leucorhoa 


PV 


A 


Pied Wheatear 


Oenanthe pleschanka 


pleschanka 


SV 


A 


Black-eared Wheatear 


Oenantlie hispanica 


hispanica 


s\ 


A 


Desert Wheatear 


Oenanthe deserti 


deserti 


SV 








homochroa 


SV 








atrogularis 


SV 


A 


Rufous-tailed Rock Thrush 


Monti cola sa.xatilis 




SV 


A 


Blue Rock Thrush 


Monticola solitarius 


race undetermined 


SV 


A 


White's Thrush 


Zoothera dauma 


a urea 


SV 


A 


Siberian Thrush 


Zoothera sibirica 


race undetermined 


SV 


A 


Hermit Thrush 


Catharus guttatus 


race undetermined 


SV 


A 


Swainson*s Thrush 


Calharus ustulatus 


swainsonii 


SV 


A 


Grey-cheeked Thrush 


Catharus minimus 


aliciae (presumed) 


SV 


A 


Veery 


Catharus fuscescens 


race undetermined 


SV 


A 


Ring Ouzel 


Tardus torquatus 


torquatus 


MB PV 


A 


Common Blackbird 


Tardus merula 


merula 


RB MB PV WV 


A 


Eyebrowed Thrush 


Tardus obscurus 




SV 


A 


Dusky Thrush 


Tardus naumanni 


eunomus 


SV 


A 


Dark-throated Thrush 


Turdus ruficollis 


atrogularis 


SV 


A 


Fieldfare 


Turdus pilaris 




CB WV PV 


A 


Song Thrush 


Turdus philomelos 


philomelos 


PV WV 






clarkei 


RB MB PV WV 




(Hebridean) 




hebridensis 


RB MB ENDEIV 



44 SBRC 



SB 22(1) 



A 


Redwing 


Turdus Hiat us 


iliacus 


MB/RB WV PV 








coburni 


WV PV 


A 


Mistle Thrush 


Tardus viscivorus 


viscivorus 


RB MB PV WV 


A 


American Robin 


Turdus migratorius 


migratorius 


SV 


A 


Cetti's Warbler 


Cettia cetti 


cetti 


SV 


A 


Pallas' s Grasshopper Warbler 


Locustella certhiola 


rubescens 


SV 


A 


Lanceolated Warbler 


Locustella lanceolata 




SV 


A 


Common Grasshopper WarblerLor«.vf<?//a naevia 


naevia 


MB PV 


A 


River Warbler 


Locustella fluviatilis 




SV 


A 


Savi's Warbler 


Locustella luscinioides 


luscinioides 


SV 


A 


Aquatic Warbler 


Acrocephalus paludicola 




SV 


A 


Sedge Warbler 


Acrocephalus schoenobaenus 


MB PV 


A 


Paddyfield Warbler 


Acrocephalus agricola 


brevipennis (presumed) 


SV 


A 


Blyth's Reed Warbler 


Acrocephalus dumetorum 




SV 


A 


Marsh Warbler 


Acrocephalus palustris 




CB PV 


A 


Eurasian Reed Warbler 


Acrocephalus scirpaceus 


scirpaceus 


MB PV 


A 


Great Reed Warbler 


Acrocephalus arundinaceus 










arundinaceus 


SV 


A 


Thick-billed Warbler 


Acrocephalus aedon 


aedon (presumed) 


SV 


A 


Olivaceous Warbler 


Hippolais pallida 


elaeica 


SV 


A 


Booted Warbler 


Hippolais caligata 


caligata 


SV 




(Sykes's) 




rama 


SV 


A 


Icterine Warbler 


Hippolais icterina 




CB PV 


A 


Melodious Warbler 


Hippolais polyglotta 




PV 


A 


Marmora's Warbler 


Sylvia sarda 


sarda (presumed) 


SV 


A 


Dartford Warbler 


Sylvia undata 


dartfordiensis 


SV 


A 


Subalpine Warbler 


Sylvia cantillans 


cantillans 


SV 








albistriata 


SV 


A 


Sardinian Warbler 


Sylvia melanocephala 


melanocephala 


SV 


A 


Ruppell's Warbler 


Sylvia rueppelli 




SV 


A 


Orphean Warbler 


Sylvia hortensis 


race undetermined 


SV 


A 


Barred Warbler 


Sylvia nisoria 


nisoria 


PV 


A 


Lesser Whitethroat 


Sylvia curruca 


curruca 


MB PV 




(Siberian) 




hlythi 


SV 


A 


Common Whitethroat 


Sylvia communis 


communis 


MB PV 


A 


Garden Warbler 


Sylvia borin 


borin 


MB PV 


A 


Blackcap 


Sylvia atricapilla 


atricapilla 


MB PV WV 


A 


Greenish Warbler 


Phylloscopus trochiloides 


viridanus 


SV 


A 


Arctic Warbler 


Phylloscopus borealis 


talovka (presumed) 


SV 


A 


Pallas' s Leaf Warbler 


Phylloscopus proregulus 


proregulus 


PV 


A 


Yellow-browed Warbler 


Phylloscopus inornatus 


inornatus 


PV 


A 


Hume's Leaf Warbler 


Phylloscopus humei 


humei (presumed) 


SV 


A 


Radde's Warbler 


Phylloscopus schwarzi 




SV 


A 


Dusky Warbler 


Phylloscopus fuscatus 


fuscatus 


SV 


A 


Western Bonelli's Warbler 


Phylloscopus bonelli 




SV 


A 


Eastern Bonelli's Warbler 


Phylloscopus orientalis 




SV 


A 


Wood Warbler 


Phylloscopus sibilatrix 




MB PV 


A 


Common Chi ff chaff 


Phylloscopus collybita 


collybita 


MB PV WV 








abietinus 


PV WV 




(Siberian) 




tristis 


PV WV 



Scottish Birds (2001 ) 



Scottish List - species & subspecies 45 









fulvescens 


PV wv 


A 


Willow Warbler 


Phvlloscopus trochilus 


i focliiliis 


MB PV 








ncvpfhiln 

ttl_ / C Kt It l If 


MR? pv 
JVIJD : r V 


A 


Goldcrest 


Regulus vegulus 


regulus 


RR PV WV 
i\d r v vv v 


A 


Firecrest 


Regal u s ign i cci pi 11 u s 


ion tffi in]) ' i iv 
f 1 1 L 11 fj 1 1 1 it y 


PV 
1 V 


A 


Spotted Flycatcher 


Musciccipct striata 


striata 


VI BP V 


A 


Red-breasted Flycatcher 


Ficedula parva 


pan a 


PV 


A 


Collared Flycatcher 


Ficed u I a a I b ic oil is 




sv 


A 


Pied Flycatcher 


Ficedulci hypoleuco. 


hypoleuca 


MB PV 


A 


Bearded Tit 


Pa yiuru s b i a vtn i c u s 


biarmicus 


RB? PV 


A 


Long-tailed Tit 


Aegithalos co.uda.tus 


rosaceus 


RB 








caudatus 


sv 


A 


Marsh Tit 


Parus palustris 


dresseri 


RB 


A 


Willow Tit 


Parus montanus 


kleinschmidti 


RB 








borealis 


SV 


A 


Crested Tit 










(Scottish) 


Parus cristatus 


sc otic us 


RB ENDEMIC 


A 


Coal Tit 


Parus ater 


ater 


PV 








hri tannic us 


RB 


A 


Blue Tit 


Parus caeruleus 


caeruleus 


SV 








obscurus 


RB 


A 


Great Tit 


Parus major 


major 


SV WV 








newtoni 


RB 


A 


Wood Nuthatch 


Sitta europaea 


caesia 


RB 


A 


Eurasian Treecreeper 


Certhia familiaris 


familiaris 


SV 








britannica 


RB 


A 


Eurasian Golden Oriole 


Oriolus oriolus 


oriolus 


CB PV 


A 


Brown Shrike 


La n ins c ristc it us 


race undetermined 


SV 


A 


Isabelline Shrike 


Lanius isabellinus 


phocnicu to id c s 










(presumed) 


SV 


A 


Red-backed Shrike 


Lanius colluno 


collurio 


CB PV 


A 


Lesser Grey Shrike 


Lanius minor 


minor 


SV 


A 


Great Grey Shrike 


Lanius excubitor 


excubitor 


WV PV 


A 


Southern Grey Shrike 


Lanius me rid ionalis 


pa 1 1 id i rostris 


SV 


A 


Woodchat Shrike 


Lanius senator 


senato r 


PV 


A 


Eurasian Jay 


Garrul us vlandarius 


rufitergum 


RB 


A 


Black-billed Magpie 


Pica pica 


pica 


KB 


A 


Spotted Nutcracker 


Nucifraga caryocatactes 


m a c ro rh v n c h os 


SV 


A 


Red-billed Chough 


Pyrrhocorax pv rrhocorax 


pyrrhocorax 


RB 


A 


Eurasian Jackdaw 


Corvus monedula 


monedula 


WV 








spermologus 


RB WV 


A 


Rook 


i n i"i 'ii c Tfiioi If o u \' 

\J 1 \ 11 J / 1 H IC t ( C g tit) 


ff'UP/lfpll c 
J ' lt S "CgMJ 


RB WV 


A 


Carrion / Hooded Crow 










(Carrion ) 


(Tori'us corone 


corone 


RB WV 




(Hooded) 




cornix 


RB WV 


A 


Common Raven 


Corvus cor ax 


co rax 


RB 


A 


Common Starling 


Sturnus vulgaris 


vulgaris 


RB WV PV 




(Shetland) 




zetlandicus 


RB ENDEMIC 


A 


Rosy Starling 


Sturnus roseus 




SV 


A 


House Sparrow 


Passer domesticus 


domesticus 


RB 



46 SBRC 



SB 22(1) 



A 


Spanish Sparrow 


Passer hispaniolensis 


hispaniolensis (presumed) SV 


A 


Eurasian Tree Sparrow 


Passer montanus 


montanus 


RB PV 


A 


Red-eyed Vireo 


Vireo olivuceus 




SV 


A 


Phfl ffinch 

\_ 1 1 ill Illicit 


Fringilla coelebs 


coelebs 


WV PV 








a ii (j 1 1> i'i 

ifClli^lt I 1 


RB 


A 


Rm mrilino 

1 > ■ II ■ 1 1 ' I I 1 


F rin if ilia fnontifringilla 




CB WV PV 


\ 


P 1 1 rnnp 'in \pn n 


Serinus serinus 




SV 


A 


European Greentinch 


Canine I is chloris 


chlor'is 


RB WV 


A 


European Goldtinch 


Carduelis canine! is 


britanmca 


RB MB 


A 


Eurasian Siskin 


Carduelis spurns 




RB MB WV PV 


A 


Common Linnet 


Carduelis caunabina 


cannuhuitt 


WV 




(Scottish) 




siiitti/'hthttitfi 

litlltfi. It l III' HU 


RB MB ENDE1V 


A 




Carduelis flavi rostris 


mm Inn c 
/ ' i j • 1 1 (( / f .i 


RB MB 


A 


Lesser Redpoll 


Carduelis cabaret 




RB MB 


A 


Common Redpoll 










(Mealy) 


Carduelis fltininwa 


/// 1 in })i / ' f i 
1 1 a 1 1 1 1 1 < I. it 


WV PV 




(Greater) 




rostrata 


SV 


A 


Arctic Redpoll 


Carduelis hornetnanni 


horneiuann i 


SV 








e \ 1 1 1 pe v 


SV 


A 


Two-barred Crossbill 


Lox ia I e it c ■ i >p tera 


hi in v* iiitu 


SV 


A 


Common Crossbill 


Loxia curvi rostra 


/ ' 1 1 1'\ ' 1 1'/ 1 \'t 1'/ 1 


RB MB WV PV 


A 


Scottish Crossbill 


Loxia scotica 




RB ENDEMIC 


A 


Parrot Crossbill 


Loxia pytyopsittacus 




[RB?] SV 


A 


Trumpeter Finch 


Bucanetes githagineus 


race undetermined 


SV 


A 


Common Rosefinch 


Carpodacus erythrinus 


i> v\' i h i'i ii 1 1 v 

1/ villi LIlUiJ 


CB PV 


A 


Pine Grosbeak 


Pinicola enuclcalor 


I'll 1 1 1 ' i I'I it 111' 
t /fill (UN"/ 


SV 


A 


Common Bullfinch 


Pxrrhulu pvrriuda 


11V 1' I'll 1 1 1 1 1 

u y 1 1 1 /(fill 


SV 








nit i'i it/i 


RB 


A 


Hawfinch 


Coccothraustes 


I* tit ' i ' l )ttl I'I 1 1 1 v//' V 
C < '{ C Ut It 1 UM.iiiJ 


RB PV 


A 


Evening Grosbeak 


Hesperiphona vespertina 


vespertina (presumed ) 


SV 


B 


Black-and-white Warbler 


Mniotilta varia 




SV 


A 


Tennessee Warbler 


Ve TtYi i vo ra per eg rin a 




SV 


A 


Yellow Warbler 


Dendroica petechia 




SV 


A 


Chestnut-sided Warbler 


Dendroica pensylvanica 




SV 


A 


Blackburnian Warbler 


Dendroica fusca 




SV 


\ 


Cape May Warbler 


Dendroica tigrino. 




SV 


A 


Yellow-rumped Warbler 


Denilroica coronutu 


coronutu (presumed) 


SV 


A 


Blackpoll Warbler 


Dendroica striata 




SV 


A 


American Redstart 


Setophaga ruticilla 




SV 


A 


Ovenbird 


Seiurus aurocapillus 


aurocapillus 


SV 


A 


Common Yellowthroat 


Geothlypis trichas 


race undetermined 


SV 


A 


Hooded Warbler 


Wilsonia citrina 




SV 


A 


Savannah Sparrow 


Passe rculussandwichensixace undetermined 


SV 


A 


Sons Sparrow 


Melospiza melodia 


race undetermined 


o V 


A 


Wrntt^-rrownprl ^\ narrow 

V V 1 1 1 L 1 U W O !_/ ll I 1 V W 


Zonotrichia leucophrys 


race undetermined 


SV 


A 


White-throated Sparrow 


Zonotrichia albicollis 




SV 


A 


Dark-eyed Junco 


Junco hyemalis 


hyemalis 


SV 


A 


Lapland Longspur 


Calcarius lapponicus 


lapponicus 


CB PV WV 


A 


Snow Bunting 


Plectrophenax nivalis 


nivalis 


RB PV WV 








insulae 


RB PV WV 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



A 
, \ 


Pinp R 1 1 n I i n o 
r lllc DUHLliig 


Emhe rizci le ucocsphcilos 


leucoccpluiios 




A 
\ 


^»lli~»\i/ni m m h» r 
I Cl 1U VV 1 Rll 1 1 1 1 IL 1 


Emhe riza citriiieila 


citriiieila 


c> V 








caligiviosQ, 


i ' 1 1 
Kb 


A, 


i i rl R 1 1 n 1 1 n o 

1 1 ! 1 1 'Hill III _ 


/■ ii i it & i*f ~~/ 1 f i yiii i' 

L^,liil)t I C II lil.i 


cirius 




A 
r\ 


lli"tj^l 'in R 1 1 n 1 1 n (i 
Ul lUluil D LI 111 1 11 L. 


Emhe riza hortwl&fiQ 




i > \ ■ 
rv 


A. 


V.lClZ.SLlIlll«.ll S L> 11 1 1 1 1 1 1 


r* i 1 1 It/' I'J " n in <e i / 1 
L.iiH'L I i^,t( Lilt .Mil 




o V 


A. 


VpI 1 nw-hrnwpH Rnntino 

1 V_ 1 1 v ' V v U JL \J W K. VJ U LI 1 1 1 1 1 1 1; 


h YYirtPYim fri k\j vnnh kv t 

Li 1 11 '1 1 t , U till \ . )('/'/// (.\ 




o V 


A 


1? 1 1 c 1 1 r* R iintinn 
I\USL1L 1 'Mill Mi 


Emhe ri za i ust i ca 


rustiea 


o V 


A_ 


I i ttl Run tin o 

LllllC ! > M I M 1 I 1 . 


I wntf KI7/1 nurj/i/i 
L^ifiUt f I , If I ' it .M 1 1 11 




o V 


A 


Y^IIphw r^r^'ittt^H Runtinn 
I CllUW LULaMtU DUllllllL 


Emhe rizxi ait / coin 


aureola 


c\/ 
a V 


A_ 


IS.LLU OLlllllllL. 


r iii/ii'i'i"/! c/ , /i/>i'ii;i'/n 
L^flllsctl^tl M 1 It >t 1 1 H lUo 


sch oemel us 


p d n\/ \\/\/ 
Kl) r V W V 


A 


P'lll'ii. c R i i n 1 1 n it 
i allaS S DUHLlllg 


Emhe riza pailasi 


poloris (presumed) 


o V 


A 


Black-headed Bunting 


Em he riza melaiioccjmalii 




SV 


A 


Corn Bunting 


Miliaria calandra 


calandra 


RB PV WV 


A 


Rose-breasted Grosbeak 


Pheucticus ludovicianus 




SV 


A 


Bobolink 


Dolichonyx oryzivorus 




SV 


A 


Brown-headed Cowbird 


Molothrus ater 


raee undetermined 


SV 


A 


Baltimore Oriole 


Icterus galbula 


galbula 


SV 



CATEGORY D 



D Greater Flamingo 

D Falcated Duck 

D Baikal Teal 

D Saker Falcon 

D Asian Brown Flycatcher 

D Daurian Starling 

D Chestnut Bunting 

D Red-headed Bunting 

D Blue Grosbeak 

D Indigo Bunting 



Phoenicopterus ruber 
Anas falcata 
Anas formosa 
Falco cherrug 
Muscicapa dauurica 
Sturnus sturninus 
Emberiza rutila 
Emberiza bruniceps 
Guiraca caerulea 
Passerina cyanea 



Category A 
Category B 
Category C 
Total 



473 
9 

_6 



Category D 10 



References 

Baxter E V & Rintoul L .1 1928 The Geographical 
Distribution and Status of Birds in Scotland. Oliver 
& Boyd, Edinburgh. 

Baxter E V & Rintoul L J 1 953. The Birds of Scotland. 
Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh. 



BOU 1971. The Status of Birds in Britain and Ireland. 
BOU 1992. Checklist of Birds of Britain and Ireland. 
6" 1 edition. 

British Ornithologists' Union Records Committee. 1991 
- 1999 Fifteenth - Twenty-seventh Reports Ibis Vols 
133-143. 



48 SBRC 



SB 22(1) 



Clements James F 2000. Birds of the World: a Checklist 

5 ,h edition. Pica Press, Robertsbridge. 

Evans Lee G R 1994. Rare Birds in Britain 1800-1990. 

LGRE Publications, Amersham. 

Mead C 2000. The State of the Nation 's Birds. Whittet 

Books, Stowmarket. 

Paton E R & Pike O G 1929. The Birds of Ayrshire. 
Witherby, London. 

SBRC per Forrester R W 1994. Scottish List Scottish 
Birds 17:146-159. 

SBRC per Forrester R W 1996. Amendments to the 
Scottish List Scottish Birds 18:129-131. 



SBRC per Gordon P R & Clugston D 1 996. Records of 
species recorded in Scotland on 5 or fewer occasions 
Scottish Birds 18:132-143. 

SBRC per Forrester R W 1998. Amendments to the 

Scottish List Scottish Birds 19:259-261. 

SBRC per Forrester R W 2000. Amendments to the 

Scottish List Scottish Birds 21:1-5. 

Thorn V M 1986. Birds in Scotland. Poyser, Calton. 

Witherby H F et al 1938. The Handbook of British 

Birds. Witherby, London. 



The following journals have been most useful sources of reference: Birding Scotland, Birding World, 
British Birds, Scottish Birds and the annual Scottish Bird Reports. 



Appendix 

Species under consideration, but not yet accepted include: 



Yellow-legged Gull 

Caspian Gull 

Booted Eagle 
Canvasback 

Swinhoe's Storm-petrel 

Semipalmated Plover 
Hooded Merganser 
Long-tailed Shrike 



There are now approaching 20 accepted records of michahellis in 
Scotland, but BOURC still treats this as a subspecies of Herring Gull. 
There are 7 Scottish records under consideration. BOURC still treat 
this as a subspecies (cachinnans) of Herring Gull. 
Hieraaetus pennatus North Ronaldsay, Orkney 22 May 2000 
Aythya valisineria Loch of Rummie, Sanday, Orkney 21-23 June 
2000 

Oceanodroma monorhis Cove, Aberdeenshire 5 August 2000 and from 
Larne-Stranraer ferry (off Galloway) September 2000 
Charadrius semipalmatus Uisaed Point, Argyll 6 July 2000 
Lophodytes cucullatus North Uist, Outer Hebrides 23-3 1 October 2000 
Lanius schach South Uist, Outer Hebrides 3-4 November 2000 



Subspecies claimed in Scotland, but not yet accepted for Britain by BOURC include: 
Little Shearwater elegans 



Canada Goose 
Solitary Sandpiper 
Mew Gull 
Atlantic Puffin 



Musselburgh Lagoons 9 December 1990 (specimen 
found above tide line) 
hutchinsii, minima and parvipes - 
many claimed records, but none yet accepted 

solitaria Fair Isle 1992 (photographic evidence points to this 

race) 

brachyrhynchus Lerwick, Shetland 25 January 1994 - 19 March 
1994 

naumanni Sule Skerry (date?) 



Scottish Birds (2001 ) 



Scottish List - species & subspecies 49 



Greater Short-toed Lark brachydactyla Flannan Isles 1904 (specimen at NMS) 

longipennis Fair Isle 1907 (specimen at NMS) - BOU say 'race 

undetermined, 2 types'. 
cinerea synonym for dulcivox 

Flannan Is 1906 (specimen at NMS) 
Eurasian Reed Warbler fuscus Fair Isle 15-16 June 2000, File Ness 2000 (Caspian 

Reed Warbler) 
minula or margelanica 

Fair Isle 25-27 June 1999 (Desert Lesser 
White throat) 
icterops Fife Ness 2000 

woodwardi Isle of May 15 May 1998 

soemmerringii Veensgarth, Shetland 27 January 1998 - 17 March 
1998, with 2 on 28 January and 8 February. 
BOURC have said in their 25" 1 Report that owing to 
'plumage characters of Jackdaws (being) so variable 
(the race) can be accepted as new to Britain only if 
a breeding bird or pullus ringed within its normal 
breeding range is recovered in Britain and shows 
the characters of the race.' 



Sky Lark 



Lesser Whitethroat 



Common Whitethroat 
Garden Warbler 
Jackdaw 



Subspecies accepted for Britain by BOURC with Scottish records under consideration by SBRC/ 
BBRC include: 



Common Redstart 



sanumusicus 



Grutness, Shetland 24-26 September 2000 



Subspecies which have probably occurred in Scotland, but for which SBRC can find no acceptable 
records, include: 



Common Guillemot 
Coal Tit 
Eurasian Jay 
Twite 



hyperborea 
hibernicus 

hibernicus and glandarius 
flavirostris 



(tideline specimens for Britain Category D) 



Subspecies recorded in Scotland but which we have been unable to fully substantiate: 

Northern Goshawk atricapillus The only Scottish record is Schiehallion 1869, 

origin doubtful, meanwhile placed in Category E 



Address for correspondence: 
Ronald W Forrester, Secretary, SBRC, 
The Gables, Eastlands Road, Rothesay, Isle of Bute PA20 9JZ 



Revised manuscript accepted January 2001 



50 Scottish Birds (2001 ) 22:50-59 



SB 22(1) 



Numbers, distribution and breeding biology of Ring Ouzels in upper Glen 

Esk, 1992-98 



DSC ARTHUR & S A WHITE 



Breeding Ring Ouzels were studied during 1 992-98 in upper Glen Esk, Angus. The number 
of confirmed breeding pairs was similar at the beginning and end of the study period with 
53 in 1992 and 56 in 1998. Mean inter nest distance was 406m. Of 144 nest sites described, 
the mean height above ground was 4.9m and mean altitude was 420m. Nests were built 
almost exclusively on, under or against rock, usually associated with Heather and usually 
on crags or steeply sloping ground. The annual earliest egg laying date varied between 12 
and 23 April. The peak 2 day period of first egg laying date for first clutches was 29-30 April 
andfor second clutches was 27-28 May. The mean clutch size was 4.01 (n 75), while the mean 
brood size was 3.37 (n 140) with a mean of 3.31 (n 140) chicks fledged. Annual nest success 
rates varied from 0.50 to 0. 77 with most losses at the nestling stage. 

Introduction 



The Ring Ouzel Tardus torquatus, has long 
thought to have been in decline in the British 
Isles, and apart from the recent study in Glen 
Clunie (Rebecca 2001), about 30km west of 
Invermark, there is little knowledge of the status 
of Ring Ouzels in north Scotland. South of 
Angus there have been studies in the Pentland 
Hills (Durman 1977 Poxton 1986,1987). the 
Yorkshire Dales (Appleyard 1994), Wales (Tyler 
and Green 1994, Hope Jones 1979 (and Dartmoor 
(Jones 1996). In Angus, our intentions were to 
quantify the numbers of Ring Ouzels, map the 
distribution of their territories and describe aspects 
of their breeding biology and habitat in parts of 
upper Glen Esk. 

Study area 

Glen Esk is situated in north east Angus, north of 
the Highland Boundary fault. The study area on 
Invermark Estate includes Glens Effock, Lee and 
Mark (Figure 1 ). Steep sided slopes with cliffs, 
crags, boulder fields and scree slopes are the 
predominant features of these glaciated valleys 



and corries. The glens are drained by numerous 
small burns of the River North Esk. Native 
woodland is sparse in the glens due to the grazing 
pressure of Red Deer Cervus elaphus. Roe Deer 
Capreolus capreolus. Mountain Hare Lepus 
timidus, Rabbit Oiyctolagus cuniculus and Sheep 
Ovis sp. However, small areas of Birch Betula sp, 
and Rowan Sorbus aucuparia occur, the latter 
providing important food in early autumn. Aspen 
Popuhts tremula, Scots Pine Pinus sylvestris and 
occasional Juniper Juniperus communis, all 
remnants of ancient woodland, occur on 
inaccessible ledges of cliffs and crags. A number 
of small shelter belt coniferous plantations occur. 
The glen floor and lower slopes are a mosaic of 
Heather and upland pasture, before they merge 
with the Heather (Calluna vulgaris) line and are 
used as feeding areas by Ring Ouzels. 

Heather communities predominate with Calluna • 
vulgaris - Erica cinerea heath and Calluna 
vulgaris - Vaccinium myrtillus heath providing I 
most of the ground cover. Woodland succession 
is generally prevented by grazing and burning. 
Grasses are the next most important plants with 



Scottish Birds {2001) 



Breeding biology of Ring Ouzels in Glen Esk 51 



Figure 1 Map of the study area in upper Glen Esk 1992-98. 




NVERMARK STUDY AREA 

territortsrs held omy ir. '92 B 

lerril^m held only in 96 A 

f«rito-: S hnkS in 92 an d 99 9 

additional Ijrntones. nol in -fy- 
?nc survey 



Bent (Agrostis) and Fescue (Festuca) species 
widespread with Bracken Pterydium aquilinum 
also common. Other low level shrubs covering 
large areas of the glen sides are Crowberry 
Empetrum nigrum. Cowberry Vaccinium viris- 
idaea. and Blaeberry Vaccinium myrtillus, the 
berries of the latter providing an important food 
source for Ring Ouzels in late summer. Areas of 
Bog Myrtle Myrica gale grow in the lower 
wetlands. (Ingram and Noltie 1981 ). 

Methods 

Fieldwork was carried out from mid March to 
July in the years 1 992-98. Annual coverage varied, 
as days with poor visibility due to rain or mist 
were avoided. 



Territories were first located by traversing the 
glen sides using sheep and deer tracks where 
possible, at an altitude of approximately 350- 
450m. The altitude range of 250-550m includes 
82% of nests on BTO nest record cards covering 
1944-70 (Flegg & Glue. 1975). Some slopes 
were terraced and required 2 observers, although 
other slopes could be easily surveyed from lower 
down. In the early years a hand held micro 
cassette recorder playing Ring Ouzel song was 
used at 1 50-200m intervals to locate birds (Arthur 
1994). 

The criteria used for determining confirmed 
breeding (A-C) and probable breeding (D) pairs 
were coded as follows and mapped. 



52 DSC Arthur & SA White 



SB 22(1) 



A Nest, eggs or young located. 
B Adult or adults carrying nesting materials 
or food. 

C Adult bird or pair alarming, territorial 

dispute. 
D Singing male. 

As males generally do not incubate, nest finding 
involved locating feeding females and then 
watching their return to the nest, usually within 
15 to 20 minutes. 

The following nest details were recorded: position, 
altitude, height above ground, habitat immediately 
around the nest and whether it was well hidden, 
partly hidden or exposed. Nest site classification 
fell into 4 main categories: cliff, crag, boulder 
field and moorland. Nests were visited regularly 
at intervals to record contents and to take 
measurements of eggs or chicks. 

The date of laying of the first egg in incomplete 
clutches was recorded; this could be done to an 
accuracy of one day. For full clutches the first 
egg dates were calculated by presuming an 
incubation period of 14 days and that one egg was 
laid per day. 

In nests that were discovered with chicks, an 
estimate of their age was made using photographs 
of known age chicks found in earlier years. In 
addition, weights gathered by a study of Tardus 
torquatus alpestris in the Carpathian Mountains 
in the Ukraine by Marisova & Vladyshevsky 
(1961) were also used and calculated to an 
accuracy of 3 days. 

Known or suspected nest sites were marked on a 
map and the inter nest distances (IND) calculated 
using Scion Image computer software. 

Nest success rates for each year were calculated 
using the Mayfield Maximum Likelihood 
Estimate (Mayfield, 1975). In this method the 



proportion of nests successful at each of the 3 
stages (egg, hatchling and nestling) is multiplied 
together to give an overall success rate. 

Results 

Distribution of territories 

Figure 1 shows confirmed and probable breeding 
sites in Glens Lee, Mark and Effock in 1992 and 
1998. Inter nest distances were measured and 
associated standard deviations calculated for the 
whole study area in an attempt to measure densities 
of Ring Ouzel breeding territories. In Glen 
Effock the mean inter nest distance (IND) was 
489m ± 144, range 318-750m; in Glen Mark 
mean IND was 389m ± 239, range 1 82-954m and 
in Glen Lee 376m ±218, range 159-909m. 
ANOVA showed no significant difference 
between INDs in the 3 glens (F= 1 .58, p=0.2 14, df 
2,63). In the core study area around Loch Lee 
nests were spaced at a mean distance of 207m ± 
57.0, range 159-363m along the north side of the 
loch. Nest sites were found to be significantly 
further apart on the south side (2 sample T-test, 
t=3.43, p=0.0 1 1 , df=7 ), where the IND was 463m 
± 206, range 1 82-886m (Fig 1 ). In Glen Mark on 
the north east side of the glen, nests were spaced 
at a mean distance of 750m ± 188, range 568- 
954m. Nest sites were found to be significantly 
closer together on the south west side (2 sample 
t-test, t=4.79, p=0.0 17, df=3 ) where the IND was 
278m ± 104, range 1 82-59 lm. 

Nest site characteristics 

Out of 144 nests located 122 were built on rock 
and 22 in Heather. The vegetation immediately 
surrounding nests was usually Heather, (123 
nests), 2 were surrounded by grass and one was 
in the lower reaches of a tree. Fourteen nests had 
no vegetation around them (Table 1 ). 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Breeding biology of Ring Ouzels in Glen Esk 53 



Table 1 Nest site details of Ring Ouzels in Glen Esk. 



Situation of nest 

Total number of nests 



Rock or crag 

122 



Heather 



Vegetation surrounding nests 

0-5 m up crag 
5-60m up crag 



None Heather 

9 93 
5 30 



Grass Tree Dead 
2 1 4 




A total of 73 nests were on crags or ledges. 64 on 
steeply sloping ground and 7 on flat or gently 
sloping ground and 18 were well hidden, 106 
were partly hidden and 20 were in the open. 
Fifteen nests were measured with mean and 
standard deviation for the outside diameter of 
1 10mm ± 9.9 and for the depth from top to base 
of 62mm ± 6.2. 

Of 12 nests dissected, the materials used were 
identified as the following: Heather. Bracken, 
grasses and moss. All nests were bound together 



with mud with an inner lining of fine grasses 
similar to those in nests in Yorkshire ( Appley ard 
1994). Nest dimensions and materials were 
also similar to those recorded for the subspecies 
Tardus torquatus alpestris from Romania 
(Korodi Gal 1970). 

Figure 2 shows the frequency distribution of 
nest heights up crags, with the vast majority of 
nests between and 5 metres off the ground, 
with a mean of 4.90m and a range of to 60m. 
Figure 3 shows the frequency distribution of 
nest altitude in 25m bands. This shows a mean 
of 420m with nests ranging from 3 1 to 550m. 



Figure 2 Frequency distribution of Ring 
Ouzel nest heights up crag 1992-98. 



Figure 3 Frequency distribution of Ring Ouzel 
nest altitudes 1992-98. The open section of each 
column shows the proportion of nests 
unsuccessful in each band. 




Altitude band (m) 



54 



DSC Arthur &SA White 



SB 22(1) 



Re use of nest sites 

Evidence so far from colour ringed birds returning 
to the study area seems to indicate low nest site 
fidelity as several territories were used in 
subsequent years by different individual pairs. 
Although the sample was small, no colour ringed 
bird has been found to occupy a territory for 
consecutive years. There seems to be a strong, 
natal site fidelity. Out of 24 sightings of colour 
ringed birds, 21 birds returned for their first 
summer, 2 for their second summer and one for 
its third summer. 

Egg laying dates 

Figure 4 shows the distribution of first egg laying 



dates for all clutches over the study period. From 
inspection of Figure 4, a cut off point was drawn 
at 1 4 May and all nests after that were taken to be 
second broods. The peak 2 day period for first 
clutches was 29-30 April and for second clutches 
27-28 May. 



Table 2 lists the mean dates of laying of the first 
egg of first and second clutches for the 6 years 
of the study, where known. The overall mean for 
first clutches was 27 April, ranging between 24 
and 29 April. The mean for second clutches 
showed more variation, ranging between 1 8 May 
and 5 June. The laying dates for first clutches 
were taken and compared with nest altitude. No 
significant relationship was found between 
altitude and laying date (r = 0.103). 



Figure 4 Frequency distribution of egg laying dates 1992-98 combined in 2 day intervals. 



4) 

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Laying date of first egg 



Scottish Birds (2001 ) 



Breeding biology of Ring Ouzels in Glen Esk 55 



Table 2 Mean dates of laying of first egg of first and second clutches. 



Year 


Mean first 


Number of 


Mean second 


Nu mber 


01 




clutches 


clutches 


clutches 


clutches 










1993 


1 1 Apill 


9 


31 May 


8 


1994 


29 April 


9 


27 May 


8 


1995 


26 April 


21 






1996 


24 April 


9 


18 May 


5 


1997 


27 April 


13 


20 May 


9 


1998 


29 April 


25 


5 June 


10 



Clutch and brood sizes 

Table 3 shows the annual means for clutch size 
and brood size at both hatching and fledging. 
Clutch size may have been underestimated as not 
all nests could be monitored at the start of laying 



and any losses prior to this would not be recorded. 
Mean hatchling and fledgling numbers are less 
likely to be biased in this way. Figure 5 shows the 
frequency distribution over the whole study period 
of clutch size and brood size at both hatching and 
fledging. 



Table 3 Mean dates of laying of first and second clutches. 



Mean clutch Mean number of chicks Mean number of chicks 

Size±SD(n) hatching ±SD (n) fledging ±SD (n) 

4.00±0.76(7) 3.30+ 1.27(10) 3.20 ±1.17(10) 

4.14±0.64(7) 3.18 ± 1.29 (17) 3.1211.32(17) 

3.90 ±0.30 (7) 3.29 ±0.82 (17) 3.18 ±0.98 (17) 

4.00 ±0.00 (12) 3.45 ± 1.03 (22) 3.41 ± 1.03 (22) 

4.00 ±0.58 (6) 3.54 ±0.63 (13) 3.54 ± 0.63 ( 13) 

4.00 ±0.67 (9) 3.41 ± 1.07 (22) 3.41 ± 1.07 (22) 

4.00± 0.29 (24) 3.39± 1.08 (39) 3.34 ± 1.10 (39) 



All years 4.0 1± 0.46 (75) 



3.37 ± 1.06(140) 



3.31 ± 1.08 (140) 



56 DSC Arthur &SA White 



SB 22(1) 



Figure 5 Frequency distribution of clutch size 
and brood size at hatching and fledging 
1992-98. 



80 
70 
60 
50 
40- 
30 
20- 
10 




M Clutch 
I I Hatching 
Fledging 



□EL 



1 2 3 4 5 

Number of eggs or chicks 



Nest success rates 

Table 4 shows nest success rates for each year 
calculated using the Mayfield Maximum 
Likelihood Estimate (Mayfield, 1975). This 
method was designed to enable success rates to be 
calculated from incomplete data, as in the present 
study when not all nests were found at the 
beginning, or could not be fol lowed to a conclusion. 
Losses of complete nests and losses of individual 
eggs or young nestlings are taken into account and 
success rates can be calculated for each stage. The 
proportion of successful nests at each stage is 



multiplied together to give the overall success 
rate. Most losses were at the nestling stage with 
losses at the egg stage occurring in only 1995. 
Over the course of the study the annual success 
rate varied from 0.50 to 0.77 with a mean of 0.61. 

Discussion 

Although numbers of Ring Ouzels are thought to 
be stable throughout most of its breeding range in 
western Europe (Tucker and Heath, 1994) the 
species has undergone a long term decline in 
Britain. 

Baxter and Rintoul ( 1 953 ) reported large decreases 
in Scotland for the first half of the twentieth 
century, a trend confirmed up to the 1980s by 
Thorn (1986). Sharrock (1976), using data from 
1968-72, estimated that there were 8-16,000 
breeding pairs in Britain and Ireland and Gibbons 
et al, (1993) calculated 5,680-11,360 breeding 
pairs in 1988-1991. The more recent 1999 
Ring Ouzel survey estimates there are between 
6155 to 7550 territories for the UK, a reduction of 
around 40% ( Wotton in prep). Suggested reasons 
for regional declines are climate change (Gibbons 
1993), overgrazing, increased predation and 
interspecific competition with Common Blackbirds 
Turdus merula (Williamson 1975, Simms 1978) 
or Mistle Thrushes Turdus viscivorus (Durman 



Table 4 Nest success rates for Ring Ouzels during the current study. 



Year 


Egg stage 


Hatching stage 


Nestling stage 


Overall 


1992 


1.00 


0.80 


0.66 


0.53 


1993 


1.00 


0.80 


0.65 


0.52 


1994 


1.00 


1.00 


0.50 


0.50 


1995 


0.73 


0.98 


0.94 


0.67 


1996 


1.00 


0.81 


0.92 


0.75 


1997 


1.00 


0.87 


0.68 


0.59 


1998 


1.00 


0.95 


0.78 


0.77 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Breeding biology of Ring Ouzels in Glen Esk 57 



1977) although no interspecific interaction with 
the above species was observed in our study area. 

During the study period and set against the situation 
of decline elsewhere, the similarity in the numbers 
of breeding territories within the study area, 
suggests a stable breeding population. A 
comparable study in nearby Glen Clunie also 
found evidence of a stable population (Rebecca, 
2001). 

Distribution of territories 

After the first 2 seasons' work it became clear that 
territories were generally traditional and occupied 
annually, although not necessarily by the same 
birds. How boundaries between territories were 
defined was difficult to assess due to the terrain. 
The main features were the crags and cliffs. 
Territory boundaries were vigorously defended at 
the pair bonding, nest building and incubation 
stages, especially by the male. A much smaller 
area around the nest was defended once the eggs 
hatched, probably because of the demands of 
feeding the chicks. 

Because of the difficulties and time required to 
delineate territories accurately, inter nest distances 
(IND) were used as a means of defining the 
densities of birds. 

Figure 1 clearly shows that Ring Ouzel nest sites 
were fairly regularly spaced throughout the study 
area, although this spacing varies according to site 
(mean IND for the whole study was 406m). The 
core study area around Loch Lee shows marked 
contrast in the spacing. Birds on the north side had 
a mean IND of 207m compared with 463m on the 
south side. The higher density on the north side 
may be due to the availability of nest sites adjacent 
to large areas of good pasture. This south facing 
grassland has a base rich soil which is likely to 
support a higher earthworm population than the 
surrounding more acid soils (Tyler and Green 



1994) and therefore provides the best feeding 
areas. The south side had very few grassy areas 
which were of poor quality and hence supported 
fewer pairs. Glen Mark also shows great contrast, 
with the north east facing slopes supporting more 
birds, with an IND of 278m as against 750m on the 
opposite side of the glen. As in the Loch Lee area, 
the densest parts had large areas of more base rich 
grassland and this, allied to aspect, provided better 
feeding areas able to support more birds. 

Immediately north and south of the Falls of Unich 
are 2 other areas of high density where there are 
extensive areas of good pasture. In Glen Effock 
the density of birds is moderate, with an IND of 
489m. Although the pasture is fairly extensive it is 
of poor quality, due to more acidic soils. 

Nest characteristics 

The study found that nests were built on crags, 
cliffs, boulder fields or in Heather, with the 
associated vegetation generally Heather. This 
agrees with the work of both Flegg and Glue 
( 1975) and Appleyard (1994) who found the vast 
majority of nests to be on crags, in gorges or 
associated with Heather and grass. In a study area 
in the Pentland Hills, 95 nests were located with 88 
in or under Heather, 4 were in Bracken and three 
were on exposed ledges (Durman 1977, Poxton 
1 986). In Glen Esk the vast majority of nests were 
found on steep slopes, cliffs or crags with only a 
few on more accessible ground. Most nests were 
at least partially hidden. All the studies noted so 
far and those of Tyler and Green ( 1 994) in Wales 
and Jones (1996) on Dartmoor have found nest 
sites to be on steep slopes, crags and gullies, 
particularly if there is good coverage of Heather. 

Flegg and Glue ( 1975) found that 82% of nests 
from all over Britain were between an altitude of 
230 and 530m; 74% the of nests in this study area 
were within 375-475m. 



58 D S C Arthur & S A White 



SB 22(1) 



Laying dates 

In the 6 years where it was possible to calculate 
the mean date for first clutches there was little 
variation (Table 2). The earliest date was 12 
April 1995, and the latest 23 April 1998. The 
earliest eggs recorded in Yorkshire (Appleyard 
1994) were on 13 April. It is possible that first 
laying date is correlated with arrival date. When 
the birds first arrive back they feed for a few days 
before breeding commences. Arrival date itself 
may be affected by a number of factors including 
the weather and overwintering conditions in North 
Africa. Data of temperature and rainfall collected 
from Whitehillocks in the east of the study area, 
were analysed but no correlation with first egg 
laying was found. Day length may also be a 
factor in first laying date, as may be the availability 
of insects, which itself can be affected by the 
weather. From the regularity of mean laying 
dates it would appear that day length is the most 
reliable indicator of when laying will occur. 

Egg laying reached a peak at the end of April, 
followed by a smaller peak of second clutches on 
27-28 May. Appleyard (1994) found the peak of 
first clutches in Yorkshire to be around a week 
earlier on 22 April. He identified a second peak 
due to replacement clutches from the 11-15 May 
and a third peak due to second clutches from the 
26-30 May. Flegg and Glue ( 1 975 ) and Poxton 
( 1986) similarly found peaks in late April/early 
May and mid May/early June. 

Clutch sizes 

The mean clutch size of 4.01 eggs is similar to 
that of Appleyard (1994) who found a mean 
clutch size of 3. 93 eggs from a total of 85 clutches. 
Similarly Flegg and Glue (1975) had an overall 
mean of 4. 1 from 79 clutches and Durman ( 1977) 
4.05 from 19 clutches. Clutches of 4 eggs were 
the commonest, with a few of 3 or 5 eggs. 
Durman (1977) noted that clutches of 5 were 



more common in wet years, perhaps linked to the 
greater ease of catching earthworms, a favoured 
prey of the Ring Ouzels. The frequency of 
clutches with 5 eggs in this study was too low for 
any effect of weather to be noticed. Korodi Gal 
( 1970) found a clutch size of 5 to be commonest 
in the subspecies Tardus torquatus alpestris, 
breeding in Romania. 

Nest success rates 

The figures of between 50-77% for nesting success 
are comparable with those quoted by Appleyard 
(1994) who found between 38 and 80% of nests 
were successful in the Yorkshire Dales. Losses 
were higher in the nestling stage than the egg 
stage which agrees with the findings of Durman 
( 1977). However Flegg and Glue (1975) found 
losses to be higher at the egg stage. We compared 
the nest success rates of open, partly hidden and 
hidden nests but no significant differences were 
found. We also compared nest success rates for 
different slopes and vegetation types but again 
there were no significant differences. 

The reduced number of mammal predators ie 
Stoat Mustela erminea. Weasel Mustela nivalis. 
Fox Vulpes vulpes and corvids due to game 
control may have increased nesting success in 
our study area. Once the young have fledged, 
they are vulnerable to predation. Colour rings 
from a few Ring Ouzel chicks have been found in 
the eyries of Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus; 
recently fledged Ring Ouzels may be easy prey 
for these raptors. 

Acknowledgements 

We are grateful to the following: the late Steve 
Fulford for his encouragement in the early years, 
Dalhousie Estates and the Head Keeper F Taylor 
and his staff for their help and cooperation with 
access. The SOC provided a grant to assist with 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



travel expenses from 1993-95 which was much 
appreciated. E Browne of Tay side Water Services 
made available weather data from Glen Esk. C 
Dumigan, Fife Ranger Service and S Hill from 
Scottish Natural Heritage assisted with vegetation 
information. We thank P Ellis for his rock 
climbing skills and drawing Figure 1. Thanks 
also to the following members of the Tay Ringing 
Group who assisted with the fieldwork: T Grant, 
J Hay, R Lawie, B Lynch, M Nicoll. A Pout, D 
Robertson, K Slater and D Whitton and the many 
friends over the years who braved the elements 
on field trips. G Rebecca and Dr R W Summers 
gave help, advice and commented on earlier 
drafts while E Arthur typed the numerous drafts. 

References 

AppleyardI 1994. Ring Ouzels of the Yorkshire Dales. 
W S Maney & Sons Leeds. 

Arthur DSC 1994. Breeding Ring Ouzels Turdus 
torquatus in Glen Esk,Tayside, 1992- 1994 - a first 
report. Tay Ringing Report 1992-93:2.3. 
Baxter E V and Rintoul L J 1953. The Birds of 
Scotland. Oliver and Boyd. Edinburgh. 
Durman R F 1977. Ring Ouzels in the Pentlands. 
Edinburgh Ringing Group Report No. 5: 24-27. Flegg, 
J J M and Glue, D E 1975 The nesting of the Ring 
Ouzel. Bird Study 22: 1-8. 

Gibbons D W, Reid J B & Chapman R A 1993. The 
New Atlas of Breeding Birds: 1988-1991. BTO/SOC/ 
1WC, Poyser, London. 

Ingram R& Noltie H J 1981 The flora of Angus. 
Dundee Museums and Art Galleries. 
Hope Jones P 1979. Ring Ouzel Turdus torquatus 
territories in the Rhinog Hills of Gwynned. Nat. Wales 
16 267-269. 

Jones, R. 1996 A study of Ring Ouzels breeding on 
Dartmoor. Devon Birds 49(2): 54-60. 



Korodi Gal I 1970. Breeding biology and nestling 
food of the Ring Ouzel (Turdus torquatus alpestris 
Brehm). Trav Mus Hist Nat Grigore Antipa 10: 307- 
329. 

Marisova I V and Vladyshevsky D V 1961. On the 
biology of Turdus torquatus L. Ukraine Zool Zhurnal 
40: 1240-1245. 

Mayfield H F 1975. Suggestions for calculating nest 
success. Wilson Bulletin 87(4) 456-466. Poxton I R 
1986. Breeding Ring Ouzels in the Pentland Hills. 
Scottish Birds 14 : 44-48 

Poxton I R 1987. Breeding status of the Ring Ouzel in 
south-east Scotland: 1985-86. Scottish Birds 14: 205- 
208. 

Rebecca G W 2001 . The contrasting status of the Ring 
Ouzel in 2 areas of Upper Deeside, north east Scotland 
betweenl991 and 1998. Scottish Birds 22: 9-19. 
SharrockJTR 1976. The Atlas of Breeding Birds in 
Britain and Ireland. BTO/IWC, Poyser, Berkhamsted. 
Simms E 1998. British Thrushes. Collins. London. 
Thorn V M 1986. Birds in Scotland. T&D Poyser, 
Calton. 

Tucker G M and Heath M F 1994. Birds in Europe: 
Their conservation status. BirdLife Conservation Series 
No. 3, Cambridge. 

Tyler S J and Green M 1994. The status and breeding 
ecology of Ring Ouzels Turdus torquatus in Wales 
with reference to soil acidity. Welsh Bird Report!: 78- 
79. 

Williamson K 1975. Birds and Climate Change. Bird 
Study 22 143 - 164. 

Wotton S (in prep). The breeding status of the Ring 
Ouzel in the United Kingdom in 1999. 



D S C Arthur, 12 Dundee Street, Carnoustie, Angus, DD7 7PD 
Stewart White, Division of Environmental and Evolutionary Biology, Graham Kerr Building, 

University of Glasgow, G12 8QQ 

Revised manuscript accepted March 2001 



60 Scottish Birds (2001) 22:60-68 



SB 22(1) 



SHORT NOTES 

Late nineteenth century breeding records 
of Osprey and White-tailed Eagle 

The Major William Stirling of Fairburn egg 
collection has been previously referred to as it 
contains the first British breeding records for 
Slavonian Grebe Podicepsauritus (McGhie 1 994, 
Scottish Birds 17:166-167) and Brambling 
Fringillamontifringilla (McGhie & Moran 1998, 
Scottish Birds 19:300-301), The collection is 
also outstanding on account of its series of 
Greenshank Tringa nebularia, Eurasian Siskin 
Cardeulis spinas and crossbill Loxia curvirostra/ 
scotica. 

In the course of work on the collection HM and 
SM came across 2 clutches of eggs of Osprey 
Pandion haliaetus, each containing 2 eggs, and 2 
clutches of eggs of White-tailed (Sea) Eagle 
Haliaetus albicilla, each containing 3 eggs. The 
eggs are typical of each species and there is no 
question about identification. We are inclined to 
accept the provenance of the eggs as the collection 
is of high quality and there is no evidence of the 
forgery of information elsewhere. The Osprey 
eggs were marked in the manuscript catalogue as 
having been collected in Sutherland on 4 May 
1 896 and Ross on 7 May 1 897. The White-tailed 
Eagle eggs were marked as having been collected 
from Sutherland on 1 1 May 1 896 and Ross on 16 
May 1899. 

There may have been 10-20 pairs of Osprey in 
Scotland at the turn of the twentieth century, but 
after 1 860 information is only available for several 
sites in Speyside, Loch Arkaig and Loch Loyne 
in Invernessshire and for Loch Luichart in 
Rossshire (Brown P 1976. The Scottish Ospreys. 
Heinemann, London). There is little information 
available from Luichart, which is strange 
considering the ease of access from the Inverness 



to Kyle railway line. Ospreys are known to have 
returned annually to Luichart for 'several 
generations' until 1 892 and they 'always brought 
out young' (Harvie-Brown I A & Buckley T E 
1895. A vertebrate fauna of the Moray Basin. 
David Douglas, Edinburgh). Ospreys possibly 
bred at Luichart sometime between 1902 and 
1940 but there is no firm evidence. (Witherby H 
F. Jourdain F C R, Ticehurst N F & Tucker B W 
1940. The Handbook of British Birds. Witherby, 
London). The clutch in the Stirling Collection 
constitutes the last confirmed breeding record for 
Ross shire and may well have originated from 
Luichart as this was the only known Rossshire 
site for the species in the 1890s. Cameron of 
Lochiel (1943, British Birds 36:184) recorded 
that at Luichart 'the nest was regularly robbed 
every year , and this would have been sometime 
around the 1890s . Another source, writing in 
1902, considered the Luichart Ospreys to have 
been 'welcome visitors', but noted that the nest 
had been robbed on a few occasions in the mid 
1890s and that this may have been responsible 
for the birds deserting the site (Harvie-Brown 
manuscripts). The Sutherland clutch would 
represent the first known breeding record of 
Osprey in that county since St John famously 
slaughtered the last birds in Assynt in 1848. 

There is likewise little information available on 
White-tailed Eagle in north Scotland for the end 
of the nineteenth century (Love J A 1983. The 
Return of the Sea Eagle. CUP, Cambridge). The 
only Ross shire eyrie know to be in use after 1 890 
was that on Beinn Gobhlach on the south side of 
Loch Broom. An immature bird sent to Macleay, 
the Inverness taxidermist, from Ullapool in 1 893 
(Buckley T E 1893. ASNH 3:179) and an adult 
trapped at Lochinver in 1899 may have come 
from this eyrie ( Harvie-Brown J A & Macpherson 
H A 1904. A vertebrate fauna of the North-west 
Highlands and Sky e. David Douglas, Edinburgh). 
The Ross shire clutch represents the last known 
breeding record for the county. In Sutherland it 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Short Notes 



61 



was certainly very rare by the 1880s but there is 
a late unconfirmed record for 1901 (Harvie- 
Brown J A & Buckley T E 1887. A vertebrate 
fauna of Sutherland, Caithness and West 
Cromarty. David Douglas. Edinburgh; 
Bannerman D A 1956. The Birds of the British 
Isles. Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh). Eagle Clarke 
( in Bannennan 1 956 op c it) considered that White- 



tailed Eagles ceased to breed on the Scottish 
mainland in 1 899 but did not give a last locality. 
The Sutherland clutches were both collected by 
someone with the initials HM and the Ross shire 
clutches by someone called JM; both of these 
people supplied other clutches from East Ross to 
the collection and they may been tenants of 
Major Stirling. 



Henry McGhie, c/o Nurse's House, West Road, Muir ofOrd, Ross Shire IV6 7TD 
Stephen Moran, Inverness Museum & Art Gallery, Castle Wynd, Inverness IV2 3ED 
Bob McGowan, National Museums of Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh EH I 1JF 

Revised manuscript accepted September 2000 



Rook persecution in Orkney in the 1950s 
and the establishment of the first colony in 
Shetland 

In The Birds of Orkney. 1984 Orkney Press, 
Stromness Booth, Cuthbert & Reynolds give an 
account of the early history of the Rooks Corvus 
frugilegus nesting and mention that changes in 
distribution were probably due to persecution. 
They quote Baxter and Rintoul's Birds of Scotland 
1950 Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh figure of 583 
nests in 1945 and a count of 720 pairs in 1950 
from Venables's Birds and Mammals and 
Shetland 1955 Oliver & Boyd, Edinburgh with a 
comment ' Unfortunately it has not been possible 
to obtain further details of these counts' 
apparently as G T Arthur's notes are no longer 
available. 

While transcribing some papers which the late 
Pat Venables passed on to me, I came across a 
letter from George Arthur dated 1 May 1952 sent 
in response to Pat's request for information on 
the status of Rooks in Orkney. Rooks had been 
unusually abundant in Shetland between February 
and April of that year, and on 27 April the 
Venables found 9 nests in plantations at Kergord. 
Weisdale, the first recorded breeding for the 
country. In his letter Arthur says 'Orkney 
possessed at Berstane a main rookery with one 



outlying small one on Hoy and several odd ones 
here and there. Six hundred pairs used to nest at 
Berstane with 65 in the north end of Hoy and 
perhaps 40 or so elsewhere. New proprietors 
came at Berstane several years ago and 
immediately started a blitz, aided and abetted by 
agricultural interested (parties) down south 
prepared to do anything to keep their jobs and 
salaries. I managed to put a spoke in their wheel 
but not in the proprietors'. After this Rooks 
began to move elsewhere, '300 arrived in Hoy 
and every tree in Kirkwall had 2 or 3 pairs, which 
were persecuted in their turn. Their attempts at 
nesting have been difficult so I suppose they 
decided to look elsewhere hence Shetland.' 

I wondered why Venables gave an Orkney total 
of 720 pairs, when Arthur's figures only add up 
to 705 pairs. Subsequently I found a list of birds 
seen in Orkney by Venables in April 1949. The 
first entry is: 'Rooks: 28 occupied nests around 
cathedral and Earl's Palace. George Arthur 
says 720 breeding pairs in Orkney. Numbers 
going to be reduced.' 

George Arthur's original letter will be deposited 
in the Shetland Archive, Lerwick. 

Pete Kinnear, 20 East Queen 's Street, 
Newport on Tay, Fife DD6 8AY 

Revised manuscript accepted September 2000 



62 Short Notes 



SB 22(1) 



Pilot Whale apparently playing with 
moulting Common Eiders 

Leitch's account of Bottle-nosed Dolphins 
Tursiops truncatus chasing birds (Scottish Birds 
21:51-52), and his statement that he had not 
heard of cetaceans 'playing with birds apparently 
just for fun', made me recall an incident on 27 
August 1978. 1 was trying to count a fairly tight 
flock of 1,200 moulting Common Eiders 
Somateria mollissima off the south east side of 
Skelda Ness in the West Mainland of Shetland 
when the flock suddenly split into 2 halves; a 
lone Pilot Whale Globicephala mela had surfaced 
in the middle of the flock. The Common Eiders 
quickly reformed into one flock but then the 



same thing happened again, the whale surfacing 
in the middle of the birds causing them to scatter 
in panic. This went on for about 30 minutes with 
the Pilot Whale surfacing perhaps 6 or 7 times 
before the ducks began to swim into the wind 
around the tip of Skelda Ness and the whale 
vanished. I cannot be sure why the whale did this, 
but, given the reaction of the Common Eiders 
and the fact the whale waited until the flock 
reformed before resurfacing, I think it wassimplj 
having fun. Flocks of moulting Common Eiders 
are certainly very nervous of the approach of 
pods of Killer Whales Orcinus orca, although I 
have not seen Ki 1 lei Whales or any other cetaceans 
show any active interest in them. 



Martin Heubeck, Sumburgh Head Lighthouse, Virkie, Shetland ZE3 9JN 

Manuscript accepted September 2000 



Prey species attacked and captured by 
Eurasian Sparrowhawks outside the 
breeding season 

During studies of the winter diet of Merlins 
Falco columbarius, Hen Harriers Circus cyaneus 
and Peregrine Falcons Falco peregrinus in west 
Galloway (Dickson 1992, Scottish Birds 16:282- 
284; 2000, Scottish Birds 21:116-117; 1994, 
Transactions Dumfries and Galloway Natural 
History Society 69:3-6; 1997, British Birds 
90:359-360), I also saw Eurasian Sparrowhawks 
Accipiter nisus attacking and killing prey in 
winter in these same open habitats. The following 
is based on observed Eurasian Sparrowhawk 
attacks between August-March, 1970-2000. 

Table 1 gives the number of attacks by adults and 
juveniles in winter in west Galloway. Most 
hunting techniques used by both classes were the 
same as those described in Newton (1986, The 
Sparrowhawk, Calton) but the most common 
technique in open country was the 'short stay 



hunting perch'. Of the 21 species attacked, most 
were birds normally associated with low ground 
and open country in winter but attacks occurred 
in many habitats from the coast to the uplands 
(see Dickson 1992. The Birds of Wigtownshire. 
Wigtown). Finches Fringillidae (41%), were the 
most frequent targets followed by Sky Larks 
Alauda arvensis (13%) but if all passerines are 
combined they constitute about 88% of all species 
(Table 1 ). Only 4 species formed more than 5% 
of kills: Sky Larks, Common Starlings Sturnus 
vulgaris and Chaffinches Fringilla coelebs. 
Common Linnets Carduelis cannabina. 
Expressed by weight finches emerged as the 
most important (23%) with Common Starlings 
providing 16% of kills by weight and Sky Larks 
6%. 

Little information is available on Eurasian 
Sparrowhawks' attack success (Newton 1986). 
In this study, however, the overall success rate of 
all hunts in winter was 14% (19.6% by adults, 
4.6% by juveniles), which is not significantly 



Scottish Birds (200 J) 



Short Notes 



63 



different from the 12% of kills on passage 
migrants recorded by Rudebech (1950, Oikos 
2:64-88), or of the 2 1 % and 12% on winter wader 
populations on the East Lothian coast (Whitfield 
1985, Ibis 127:544-558; Cresswall 1996, Ibis 
138:684-692), or the 21% by an adult female 
Eurasian Sparrowhawk in a winter woodland 
garden (Wilson & Weir 1989, Scottish Birds 
15:126-130). In winter, too, Eurasian 
Sparrowhawks regularly and often attacked birds 
at their winter roosts, mostly Starlings. These 
attacks are not included in Table 1 but of the 60 
attempts to catch Common Starlings there, 54, 
(90%) were unsuccessful (Dickson 1979, British 
Birds 72:186-187). Although most studies of 



winter diet of Eurasian Sparrowhawks have been 
made in continental Europe (eg see Opdam 1978, 
Ardea 66:137-155), the only other quantitative 
study of winter diet in Britain seems to be that of 
Newton ( 1986). He noted prey remains found at 
nest sites in his study area in Dumfriesshire 
between September and March where he recorded 
36 bird species of which passerines constituted 
about 87% of all items, the same as the percentage 
of small passerine species attacked and killed in 
winter in this study. 

R C Dickson, Lismore, New Luce, Newton 
Stewart, Wigtownshire DG8 OAJ 

Manuscript accepted December 2000 



Table 1 Percentage frequency of prey species attacked and killed by Eurasian Sparrowhawks in 
winter in west Galloway, 1970-2000. Success of juveniles shown in brackets in last coin inn. 



Number of attacks 





Adyifs 


Juveniles 


% frequency 


Success 


Pigeons (1) 


2 




1.3 


1 


Waders (2) 


11 




6.9 




Black-headed Gull 


1 




0.6 




Eurasian Teal 


1 




0.6 




Gamebirds (3) 




4 


2.5 




Sky Lark 


15 


6 


13.1 


2(1) 


Barn Swallow 


1 


1 


1.3 




Meadow Pipits 


5 


2 


4.4 




Thrushes (4) 


6 




3.7 


2 


Common Starling 


1 1 


1 


7.5 


3 


Finches (5) 


42 


24 


41.3 


8 


Other passerines (6) 


7 


2 


5.6 


2(1) 


Unidentified passerines 14 


3 


10.6 


5 


Rabbit 


1 




0.6 




Totals 


1 17 


43 




25 



(1) includes Common Wood Pigeon, Eurasian Collared Dove; (2) includes Eurasian Golden Plover, 
Northern Lapwing, Dunlin, Common Snipe; (3) includes Common Pheasant, Grey Partridge; (4) 
includes Redwing, Eurasian Blackbird, Northern Fieldfare; (5) includes Common Chaffinch, European 
Greenfinch, Common Crossbill, Common Linnet, Twite; (6) includes Pied Wagtail, House Sparrow, 
Reed Bunting. - Scientific names omitted for reasons of space. 



64 Short Notes 



SB 22(1) 



Eurasian Oystercatcher nesting in a 
greenhouse 

Roof nesting Eurasian Oy stercatchers Haematopus 
ostralegus have bred at Monifieth High School. 
Angus for over 10 years. Initially only one pair 
attempted breeding but over the last 3 years, 3 
pairs have regularly bred on the school's flat 
roofs. During May 2000 essential roof repair 
work had to be carried out and this was completed 
during the last few days of May. About a week 
later the roofs were then cleaned and the personnel 
involved in this work reported 2 nests containing 
clutches of 2 and 3 eggs on the 2 storey part of the 
school and one chick on a lower roof over the 
single storey science/technical block. 

On Monday 1 2 June one of the janitors reported 
that he had found 'a nest' in the school greenhouse 
and he was sure it was "one of those noisy black 
and white birds" ! ! I was able to confirm that a 
Eurasian Oystercatcher was incubating a clutch 
of 3 eggs in the middle of the greenhouse, under 
the staging, in a nest constructed from small pink 




The nest at Monifieth High School 

Bruce Lxnch 



'Balmullo' gravel chips. The door had been left 
open for sometime and the bird had only ever used 
this opening as its means of entry and exit. A pane 
of glass at ground level at the opposite end of the 
greenhouse was removed and one of the birds was 
seen using this opening when returning to incubate. 
The greenhouse is situated in a very enclosed part 
of the school grounds and close to 2 frequently 
used doorways. Disturbance was unavoidable 
throughout the school da\ . W hen the nearei ol the 
2 entrances was used the adult on the rim of the flat 
roof usually alarmed, while the incubating adult 
ran out of the greenhouse door, jumped onto a low 
wall, ran along the top of the wall and then flew up 
to join the other adult on the roof. After the 
person(s) had left the area the incubating bird 
quickly returned to its nest. 

School broke up for the summer holidays on 28 
June when the clutch of 3 eggs was still being 
incubated. The head janitor reported that the bird 
was still present on 9 July and the clutch intact. 
However, around this date the 2 permanent 
members of the janitorial staff went on holiday 
and a relief janitor was left in charge. I visited the 
nest site on 18 and 24 July and found the clutch 
reduced to 2 eggs which were cold to the touch and 
presumed to be deserted. There were no signs of 
damage to the remaining eggs, the missing egg 
was not in the immediate vicinity and there was no 
sign of adults. The nest had clearly failed. 

Eurasian Oystercatchers have been breeding on 
roof tops, especially in the Aberdeen area, for up 
to 30 years. They have also been reported nesting 
in enclosed situations in forestry plantations (G 
Shaw, Scottish Birds 1996 18:183) However. I 
can find no reference to this species having nested 
inside a structure in an enclosed area in a suburban 
location. 

Bruce M Lynch, 27 Luke 
Place, Broughty Ferry, Dundee DD5 3BN 

Revised manuscript accepted December 2000 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Short Notes 



65 



Observations of predation of Hen Harrier 
nestlings by Hooded Crows in Orkney 

Compared with other raptors. Hen Harriers ( Circus 
cyaneus) are unusual, because they are often 
simultaneously polygynous with males having 
harems of up to 5 females (Picozzi N 1984, 
Breeding biology of polygynous Hen Harriers 
Circus c cyaneus in Orkney. Ornis Scandinavica 
15:1-10). Clear hierarchies in female reproductive 
success have been observed, with primary females 
producing significantly more fledglings than later 
settling secondary females (Picozzi N op cit). 
Simmons et al (Simmons R E, Smith P C and 
MacWhirter R B 1986. Hierarchies among 
\ Northern Harrier Circus cyaneus harems and the 
(costs of polygyny. Journal of Animal Ecology 
55:755-771 ) found that this reduced productivity 
j was associated with lower provisioning rates by 
i male harriers to their secondary females. Both 
Simmons et al and Picozzi recorded higher rates 
of predation for secondary female nests. They 
j suggested that this might result from females 
being forced to hunt for themselves in order to 
compensate for the low provisioning of their males, 
and thereby leave their nests unattended and more 
vulnerable to predators. 

The Orkney Hen Harrier has declined dramatically 
since the 1970s (Meek E R. Rebecca G W. 
Ribbands B and Fairclough K 1998, Orkney Hen 
Harriers: a major population decline in the absence 
of persecution. Scottish Birds 1 9 : 290-298 ). despite 
the absence of human persecution. One explanation 
for the decline is a shortage of prey available 
during the breeding season. Lower provisioning 
rates by male harriers may lead to reduced breeding 
success, as found for secondary females in harems 
and populations of Northern Harriers C chudsonius 
in the USA during poor vole years (Hamerstrom 
F, Hamerstrom F N and Burke C J 1 985. Effect of 
voles on mating systems of harriers in a central 
Wisconsin population of harriers. Wilson Bulletin 
97:332-346: Simmons R, Barnard P. MacWhirter 



R B and Hansen G L 1986. The influence of 
polygyny, productivity, age and provisioning of 
breeding Northern Harriers: a 5 year study. 
Canadian Journal of Zoology 64: 2447-2456). An 
alternative explanation for the decline is an increase 
in numbers of Hooded Crows (Con'us corone 
comix) which are considered to be the main egg 
predator of Hen Harriers in Orkney (Picozzi N op 
cit). Here we describe 2 incidents of crows attacking 
Hen Harrier nestlings, suggesting that low food 
availability and predation may interact in Orkney 
to reduce harrier breeding productivity. 

Seven Hen Harrier nests were watched from hides in 
June and July 1999 on West Mainland. Orkney. 
Hides were placed 20-30m from the nests and moved 
over a one week period to a position 5m from the 
nest. A successful predation attempt by a crow on a 
harrier nestling was observed on 15 June during a 
watch on a brood of 4 Hen Hairier chicks (aged 13. 
14, 15 and 16 days). The female harrier was seen to 
leave the nests at 1612 hrs presumably to hunt. At 
1 7 1 9 hrs a Hooded Crow alighted on the edge of the 
hairier nest, picking up a nestling (aged 15 days) by 
the head, dragged it out of the nest and pecked it to 
death. The female harrier arrived back at the nest 
before the crow had started to consume the nestling, 
and the crow flew off. During the period that the 
crow was present at the nest site, the harrier chicks 
displayed typical defensive behaviour of huddling 
together and giving alarm calls. The female harrier 
fed the dead chick to the other nestlings. Another 
predation attempt by a Hooded Crow was observed 
on 1 July.duringawatchatadifferentnest containing 
abroodof4 nestlings (aged 12. 18, 18and 19days). 
At 1325 hrs the female departed from the nest. At 
1 330 hrs a crow was seen to dive twice at one of the 
harrier chicks ( aged 1 2 days (.briefly landed twice on 
the nest, but took off immediately after landing each 
time . It dived for a third time at a different chick ( aged 
18 days), and again landed on the nest. At this point 
the female Hen Harrier returned and dived at the 
crow on the nest, landing on the chicks but missing 
the crow, and then chased the crow away from the 



66 Short Notes 



SB 22(1) 



nest. The entire attack by the crow lasted less than 30 
seconds from the time the crow first landed at the nest 
until the time that the female harrier returned to 
protect the nestlings. Picozzi (op cit) described 
Hooded Crows as the main predator of Hen Harrier 
eggs. Our observations suggest that Hooded Crows 
may also be important predators at the nestling stage, 
killing chicks at least up to the age of 1 5 days. To our 
knowledge, this is the first time that a Hooded Crow 
has been confirmed as having killed a Hen Hairier 
nestling. Our observations suggest that females that 
leave their nests unattended for extended periods of 
time expose their chicks to risk of predation. The 
adult female harrier was absent for 67 minutes prior 
to the attack when the crow successfully killed the 
nestling. The observation from the second nest 
suggests that if the female is present in the vicinity of 
the nest, she may be able to actively protect her 
chicks and prevent crow predation. The fact that 
Hooded Crows were observed attacking 2 of 7 nests 
that were watched suggests that these may not be 
isolated incidents. Predation risk may be increased in 
nests of secondary females or in areas where food is 
limiting during the nestling stage, due to the female 
hairier spending prolonged time periods foraging 
away from the nest site. Further in vestigation into the 
relationship between female attentiveness, 
provisioning rates and breeding success are required 
if this hypothesis is to be explored further. 

We thank Keiry Lock for help with fieldwork and 
Xavier Lambin and Steve Redpath for useful 
comments on this manuscript. 

Arjun Amar, Centre for Ecology and 
Hydrology, Hill of Brathens, Banchory, AB31 
4BW & Department of Zoology, University of 
Aberdeen, Tillydrone Avenue, Aberdeen, 

AB24 2TZ 

Sarah Burthe, Department of Zoology, 
University of Aberdeen, Tillydrone Avenue, 
Aberdeen, AB24 2TZ 

Revised manuscript accepted January 2001 



The number of pairs and breeding success 
of Common Ravens on Mainland, Orkney 
1983-2000 

Mainland is the largest of the Orkney islands with 
an area of approximately 490km 2 and a coastline 
of 234km, with 50km (21%) consisting of cliffs 
over 15m in height (Mather et al 1975, An 
Introduction to the Orkney coastline. In, Goodier 
R (ed). The Natural Environment of Orkney. 
Nature Conservancy Council, Edinburgh). The 
number of pairs of Common Ravens Corvuscorax 
attempting to nest on Mainland together with their 
breeding success has been monitored annually 
during the period 1983 to 2000. 

Common Ravens were found nesting on sea cliffs 
ranging from 3 to 1 00m in height and at a variety 
of inland sites. The inland sites included quarries 
both active and disused, pylons and ruined 
buildings, trees and an inland cliff. A nesting 
attempt was recorded if a lined nest or a nest with 
eggs or young was found. A nest was considered 
to have been successful either where the young 
were known to have fledged or if the young were 
within a week of fledging. The annual number of 
breeding pairs and their success is shown in Table 
1. 

It was found that, although there were fluctuations, 
the number of pairs attempting to nest annually 
rose from 27 in 1983 to 47 in 2000 (Table 1), an 
increase of 74%. In 1 1 of the years there were also 
pairs on territory that did not breed. The percentage 
of successful pairs varied from year to year (range 
44.8% to 69%) with a mean of 56.8%. During the 
study period there was an increase in the proportion 
of pairs utilising inland sites. Seven pairs (25%) i 
nested inland in 1983 including 4 in quarries and j 
single pairs using building, tree and inland cliff | 
sites. In 2000 there were 18 pairs (38%) occupying j 
inland sites, with 6 in quarries, 6 on buildings, 
including a pylon, 5 in trees and one on an inland 
cliff. 



Scottish Birds (2001 ) 



Short Notes 



67 



Table 1 Number of pairs and breeding success of Common Ravens, Mainland, Orkney 1983-2000. 



Year 


Pairs 


Pairs 


% pairs 


Pairs on 


Nests 


% nests i 




attempting 


successful 


successful 


territory but 


at inland sites 


inland si 




to breed 






not breeding 






1983 


27 


16 


59.3 


(! 


7 


25 


1984 


28 


14 


50 


(1 


6 


21 


1985 


27 


17 


62 


o 


7 


25 


1986 


24 


14 


58 


o 


6 


25 


1987 


26 


18 


69 


2 


s 


30 


1988 


29 


14 


48 


3 


10 


34 


1989 


28 


17 


60.7 


i 


9 


32 


1990 


28 


16 


57 





10 


35 


1991 


29 


17 


58.6 


1 


10 


34 


1992 


29 


13 


44.8 





1 1 


37.9 


1993 


28 


14 


50 


2 


8 


28 


1994 


35 


21 


60 


1 


9 


25.7 


1995 


33 


17 


51.5 





8 


24 


1996 


33 


22 


66.6 


4 


9 


27 


1997 


35 


18 


51.4 


4 


11 


31 


1998 


38 


21 


55.3 


4 


14 


36.8 


1999 


43 


23 


53.5 


5 


17 


39.5 


2000 


47 


30 


63.8 


6 


18 


38 



Note: the number of non breeding pairs on territory includes 4 that built unlined nests 



Table 2 Breeding success of Common Ravens at sea cliff and inland sites. Mainland, Orkney 1983- 
2000. 



Pairs Pairs % pairs Young Number of young 

attempting successful successful reared reared per successful 

to nest pair 

389 205 52.7 600 2.9 

178 117 65.7 352 3 



Pairs nesting at inland sites appeared to be more 
successful with 65.7% rearing young compared 
with 52.7% of pairs using sea cliffs (Table 2 ). The 
mean number of young fledged per successful 
attempt however was very similar for both types 
of site. Despite the increase of breeding pairs of 



Common Ravens on Mainland, the number of 
pairs on other Orkney islands has apparently 
remained stable. 

C J Booth, 34 High Street, Kirkwall, Orkney, 

KW15 1AZ 



Manuscript accepted January 2001 



68 Short Notes 



SB 22(1) 




Common Raven nest on collapsed roof beams and stone slabs 



C J Booth 



Common Ravens nesting near a roost 

In 1 984 a roost of Common Ravens Corvus corax 
was established on a stretch of cliff in St Ola, 
Mainland, Orkney. This roost has been occupied 
throughout the period 1984 - 2000, with counts 
ranging from 53 to 146 birds. Since 1987, Common 
Ravens have nested at 3 sites in close proximity to 
this roost. 



successfully reared 4 young. Common Ravens 
are strongly territorial when breeding, so it seems 
surprising that pairs would attempt to nest so close 
to a well established roost. 

C. J. Booth, 34 High Street, Kirkwall, Orkney, 

KW15 1AZ. 

Manuscript accepted January 2001 



In 7 of the years between 1987 and 1995 a pair of 
Common Ravens attempted to nest on a cliff 
400m to the west of the road, successfully rearing 
young in 4 of the years. In 1999, a pair built an 
unlined nest just 25m from the roosting ledges. 
On 1 April 2000 this nest had been built up and 
lined and a pair of Common Ravens was present, 
calling and very agitated. One of the birds appeared 
to come off the nest as I arrived at the site. On a 
further visit on 22 April the nest was deserted with 
the lining disturbed and no sign of the birds. On 
a cliff 400m to the east of the roost, another pair of 
Common Ravens, one of which was ringed, 
attempted to nest in both 1 998 and 1 999 but failed. 
This was possibly due to interaction with Northern 
Fulmars Fulmarus glacial is. In 2000, using the 
same nest site as in the previous 2 years, they 



Correction 

Prey captured and attacked by Merlins in 
winter 

In R C Dickson's note in Scottish Birds 21:116 
the fifth paragraph should read: 

'In 1992-2000 only 4 species formed more than 
5% of kills: Skylarks. Meadow Pipits, Chaffinches 
and Linnets/Twites Carduelis flavirostris. 
Expressed by weight Linnets/Twites emerged as 
the most important of kills (87%) with Skylarks 
providing (6%) of kills by weight. Chaffinches 
4% and Meadow Pipits 3%' 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Sluirt Notes 



69 



Egg sizes of crossbills in Scotland 

Due to an oversight several errors appeared in 
our recent paper (McGhie H A & Summers R W, 
Scottish Birds 21:85-87). I apologise for this 
confusion and amend them here. 

HA McGhie 

Results 

There were significant differences in length and 
breadth between the 3 groups of crossbills (Table 
1 ). Parrot Crossbill eggs were significantly longer 
and broader than those of Common Crossbills 
0=4.9, P<0.00 1 and t=4.0. P<0.000 1 . respectively), 
though there was overlap (Table 1 ). Likewise, the 
lengths and breadths of crossbill eggs from 
Scotland were significantly different from those 
of Parrot Crossbills (t=4.9, P<0.001 and t=2.7, 
P=0.007, respectively) but not from Common 



Crossbills (t=0.85, P=0.4 and t= 1 .29, P=0.2). The 
mean length of the Scottish eggs was actually 
smaller than the Common Crossbills. A similar 
pattern emerged using indices of egg volume. Egg 
volumes of Parrot Crossbills were significantly 
greater than those from Common Crossbills 
(t=5.32, P<0.001 ) and from crossbills in Scotland 
(t=4.51. P<0.001), but there was no difference 
between eggs from Common Crossbills and those 
from Scotland (t=0.55, P=0.59 Table 1 ). 

Discussion 

The egg measurements of the Common Crossbills 
and crossbills from Scotland were similar to those 
quoted by Nethersole-Thompson (1975. Pine 
Crossbills Poyser, Berkhamsted) and confirmed 
that those from Scotland were not intermediate 
between Common and Parrot Crossbills. 



Table 1 Lengths, breadths (mm) and indices of volume (length x breadth' (cm')) of eggs from Parrot 
and Common Crossbills and crossbills from the Highlands of Scotland. 







Parrot Crossbill 


Common Crossbill 


Highland 


Number of clutches 




20 


79 


105 


Length 


Mean 


22.96 


21.96 


21.84 




SD 


0.79 


0.83 


0.96 




Min 


21.71 


20.27 


18.77 




Max 


24.19 


24.18 


24.37 


Breadth 


Mean 


16.44 


16.00 


16.10 




SD 


0.50 


0.43 


0.52 




Min 


15.72 


14.75 


14.78 




Max 


17.46 


17.03 


17.29 


Index of volume 


Mean 


6.22 


5.63 


5.67 




SD 


0.49 


0.43 


0.50 




Min 


5.51 


4.53 


4.21 




Max 


7.31 


6.59 


6.85 



ANOVA on egg length: 
ANOVA on egg breadth: 
ANOVA on egg volume: 



F (2201) = 13.3 P<0.001 
F (2 201) = 6.5 P<0.002 
F (2 2 01) = 13.1 P<0.001 



Henry McGhie, c/o Nurse's House, West Road, Muir of Ord, Ross Shire IV6 7TD 



70 



SB 22(1) 



Obituary 

William Brackenridge 
1952 - 2000 

A tragic car crash on the A9 ended Bill's life. He 
was returning from the SOC Conference. Birds 
had been his first and continuing love but, over 
the years, he developed and honed his skills in 
field identification, trained in ecology and became 
a leading light in the environmental movement in 
central Scotland. Billy, as most of the 'old hands' 
in Ayrshire knew him, was an almost unique 
character. Always keen to involve himself, and 
share his knowledge with others, Billy was a key 
figure within many local wildlife organisations 
in Ayrshire during the late 1960s and 70s. He 
always strove for perfection in survey work and 
did not suffer sloppy fieldwork gladly, especially 
if he suspected it could have been more thorough. 
The image of Billy, which remains for some of us 
to this day, is of a young, very keen birder, kitted 
out in sports jacket and tie (almost always!), 
striding up Cam Ban Mor one evening just to say 
that he'd forgotten to bring his tent, and would 
come back up in the morning so we could carry 
out a day's birding on the plateau. 

As leader of the Ayrshire YOC his patience with 
young children was equal to that he showed 
towards adults in the SOC. His work with the 
local branch of the SWT involved him as one of 
the main contributors to the very thorough coastal 
survey, much of which is still a major reference 
in the county. It was the conservationist in Billy 
which most of us will remember. When a rare 
bird showed up anywhere he was, of course, 
eager to see it, but he was always able to see 
beyond this aspect of birding. 

Bill joined North Lanarkshire Council in 1996 as 
an Ecologist after a spell as Countryside Ranger 
for Stirling District. 



The Scottish Wildlife Trust got the right person 
when they chose Bill to kickstart the proposed 
Jupiter Wildlife Garden project at ICI, 
Grangemouth. He converted a tract of species 
poor grassland into arguably Scotland's most 
biodiverse wildlife garden, now producing 
thousands of wildflower plants annually for other 
wildlife gardens. Another successful project 
master minded by Bill was the conversion of the 
old sand and gravel quarries into the Doune 
Ponds, now an SWT reserve, popular with birds 
and visitors alike. 

In North Lanarkshire he successfully launched 
the Local Biodiversity Action Plan targeting key 
habitats and species in a partnership effort across 
many agencies, which could not have been 
achieved without Bill's knowledge, commitment 
and persistence. 

As a field ecologist he was forever finding 
something new, or rare, or at least unheard of by 
planners and developers! It was Bill who 
discovered the rare Blue Fleabane thriving on the 
industrial dereliction of Ravenscraig, and the 
even rarer Yellow wort in the grounds of the 
proposed Law Hospital. His surveys found new 
sites for Fritillaries, Water Voles, Otters, Black 
Grouse, Moonwort and Fragrant Orchids. One 
important outcome is that North Lanarkshire 
now has a comprehensive map of over 300 Sites 
of Importance for Nature Conservation approved 
by the Council and offered presumption against 
damaging development. 

Bill was also a champion of wider environmental 
issues, recycling, renewable energies, 
environmental education for children and adults, 
all in the cause of a sustainable future. He had a 
low tolerance threshold of anyone who 
deliberately caused waste or pollution. On more 
than one occasion, while out on field surveys, he 
came across a council van, engine idling, going 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



71 



nowhere. To the astonishment of the occupants 
Bill would reach in and simply switch off the 
ignition. Then followed a friendly but firm lecture 
on air pollution. None argued, many learned. Just 
days before his death. Bill was interviewed by 
the BBC Environmental Correspondent on the 
effects of global warming on Scotland* s wildlife. 

The division between work and play for Bill was 
seamless. As well as his SWT commitments, he 
was Membership Secretary for Biological 
Recording in Scotland (BRISC), Scottish 
coordinator for Countryside Jobs Monthly. 
Conservation Officer for West Scotland Butterfly 
Conservation. Assistant Editor of the Forth 
Naturalist and Historian, member of the Bean 
Goose Working Group and, of course, a regular 
contributor on Biodiversity for CSCT's New 
Leaf. His many trips abroad became exotic field 



surveys, broadening his knowledge and 
deepening his commitment to the natural world. 

In memory of Bill, his family and friends have 
started to consider ideas on how a living memorial 
could be created. Several conservation agencies 
have promised their support and individual 
donations have been arriving. RSPB has offered 
to act as the "bank' for the donations, which are 
ring fenced for this project. All contributions 
welcome. Cheques should be made out to RSPB 
and posted c/o Bill Brackenridge Fund, 
Conservation and Greening Unit, Palacerigg 
House, Cumbernauld G6 3HU. 

A fine example to any young naturalist who 
wants to learn as much as he can from nature. 
Billy was an outstanding figure in the world of 
both Scottish birdwatching and conservation. 



Bruce Forrester, Angus Hogg and Brian Thomson 





Bill Brackenridge at the 2000 SOC Annual Conference. 



Rax Murrax 



72 Advice to contributors 



SB 22(1) 



Advice to contributors 



Authors should bear in mind that only a small 
proportion of the Scottish Birds readership are 
scientists and should aim to present their material 
concisely, interestingly and clearly. Unfamiliar 
technical terms and symbols should be avoided 
wherever possible and, if deemed essential, should 
be explained. Supporting statistics should be kept 
to a minimum. All papers and short notes are 
accepted on the understanding that they have not 
been offered for publication elsewhere and that 
they will be subject to editing. Papers will be 
acknowledged on receipt and are normally 
reviewed by at least 2 members of the editorial 
panel and, in most cases, also by an independent 
referee. They will normally be published in order 
of acceptance of fully revised manuscripts. The 
editor will be happy to advise authors on the 
preparation of papers. 

Reference should be made to the most recent 
issues of Scottish Birds for guidance on style of 
presentation, use of capitals, form of references, 
etc. Papers should be typed on one side of the 
paper only, double spaced and with wide margins 
and of good quality; 2 copies are required and the 
author should also retain one. We are also happy 
to accept papers on disk or by email at: mail@the- 
soc.org.uk, stating the type of word processing 
package used. If at all possible please use Microsoft 
Word 97. Contact the Secretary on 1 3 1 556 6042 
for further information. 



Headings should not be underlined, nor typed 
entirely in capitals. Scientific names in italics 
should normally follow the first text reference to 
each species unless all can be incorporated into a 
table. Names of birds should follow the official 
Scottish List (Scottish Birds 2001 Vol 22:33-49). 
Only single quotation marks should be used 
throughout. Numbers should be written as 
numerals except for one and the start of sentences. 
Avoid hyphens except where essential eg in bird 
names. Dates should be written: ...on 5 August 
1991. ..but not ...on the 5th... (if the name of the 
month does not follow ). Please do not use headers, 
footers and page numbers. Please note that papers 
shorter than c700 words will normally be treated 
as short notes, where all references should be 
incorporated into the text, and not listed at the end, 
as in full papers. 

Tables, maps and diagrams should be designed to 
fit either a single column or the full page width. 
Tables should be self explanatory and headings 
should be kept as simple as possible, with footnotes 
used to provide extra details where necessary. 
Each table, graph or map should be on a seperate 
sheet, and if on disc each table, graph, map etc 
should be on a separate document. Please do not 
insert tables, graphs and maps in the same 
document as the text. Maps and diagrams should 
be either good quality computer print out and in 
black and white (please do not use greyscale 
shading) or drawn in black ink , but suitable for 
reduction from their original size. Contact the 
Secretary on 1 3 1 556 6042 for further details of 
how best to lay out tables, graphs, maps etc. 



Scottish Birds 



Volume 22 Part 1 June 2001 

Contents 

Main papers 

Roof and ground nesting Eurasian Oystercatchers in Aberdeen. 

A Duncan, R Duncan, R Rae, G W Rebecca & B J Stewart 1 
The contrasting status of the Ring Ouzel in 2 areas of upper Deeside, north east 
Scotland, between 1991 and 1998. G W Rebecca 9 
The distribution of Crested Tits in Scotland during the 1990s. 

R W Summers 20 
Western Capercaillie captures in snares. P Cosgrove & J Oswald 28 
Amendments to the Scottish List. R W Forrester SBRC 31 
The Scottish List - species and subspecies. 

D L Clugston, R W Forrester, R Y McGowan & B Zonfrillo SBRC 33 
Numbers, distribution and breeding biology of Ring Ouzels in upper Glen Esk, 
1992-98. DSC Arthur &SA White 50 

Short notes 

Late 19th century breeding records of Osprey and White-tailed Eagle. 

H McGhie, S Moran & R McGowan 60 

Rook persecution in Orkney in the 1950s and the establishment of the 

first colony in Shetland. P Kinnear 61 

Pilot Whale apparently playing with moulting Common Eiders. 

M Heubeck 62 

Prey species attacked and captured by Eurasian Sparrowhawks outside 

the breeding season. R C Dickson 62 

Eurasian Oystercatcher nesting in a greenhouse. B M Lynch 64 

Observations of predation of Hen Harrier nestlings by Hooded Crows in Orkney. 

A. Amar & S. Burthe 65 

The number of pairs and breeding success of Common Ravens on Mainland, 

Orkney 1 983 - 2000. C J Booth 66 

Common Ravens nesting near a roost. C J Booth 68 

Corrections 

Prey captured and attacked by Merlins in winter. R C Dickson 68 
Egg sizes of crossbills in Scotland. H A McGhie 69 



Obituary 

Bill Brackenridge. Bruce Forrester, Angus Hogg & Brian Thomson 70 

Advice to contributors 72 

Front Cover Oystercatchers A D Johnson 



Published by the Scottish Ornithologists' Club, 
21 Regent Terrace. Edinburgh EH7 5BT. © 2000 



Scottish 
Birds 

THE JOURNAL OF THE SOC 
Vol 22 No 2 December 2001 



Li| JUL im 

j *URtr:/-:*t 

'Aj» a iC»W W B*5E.-'?-.::g; - 




Cliff nesting seabirds in Caithness 
Status of Chough 
Diet of Barn Owl in East Ross and East Ness 



Scottish Birds 

The Journal of the Scottish Ornithologists' Club 
Editor: Dr S da Prato 

Assisted by: Dr I Bainbridge, Professor D Jenkins, Dr M Marquiss, Dr J B Nelson, and R Swann 
Business Editor: Caroline Scott, Admin Officer, SOC, Harbour Point, Newhailes Road, 
Musselburgh EH21 6JS (tel 0131-653-0653, fax 0131 653 0654, email mail@the-soc.org.uk). 

Scottish Birds, the official journal of the Scottish Ornithologists' Club, publishes original material 
relating to ornithology in Scotland. Papers and notes should be sent to The Editor, Scottish Birds, SOC, 
Harbour Point, Newhailes Road, Musselburgh EH21 6JS 

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Printed by Meigle Colour Printers Ltd., Block 11, Units 1 & 2, Tweedbank Industrial Estate, 
Galashiels TD1 3RS 



Scottish Birds (2001) 22:73-81 



Cliff nesting seabirds in east Caithness 1980 - 1993 I TF:M U 

RJ EVANS 

Numbers of cliff breeding seabirds were monitored at plots at 5 colonies in east Caithness 
during 1980-1993. Numbers of Northern Fulmars (+13%) and Common Guillemots 
(+2%) increased and numbers of European Shags (-7%, 1985-93), Black-legged Kittiwakes 
(-9%) and Razorbills (-11%) decreased, but no significant trends were detected for 
individual species when data for all colonies were combined. However significant upward 
and downward trends at different colonies were recorded for Kittiwake, Guillemot and 
Razorbill. Fulmar productivity decreased slightly and Kittiwake chick production from 
1985 to 1993 declined by an average of -0.05 chicks/ AON /year. 



Introduction 

Survey work undertaken in 1977 (Mudge 1979) 
showed that the seacliffs of east Caithness 
supported internationally important numbers of 
breeding seabirds, in particular European Shags 
Phalocrocorax aristotelis (1,860 apparently 
occupied nests, 5% British, 1% NW European 
populations), Black-legged Kittiwakes Rissa 
tridactyla (53,000 apparently occupied nests, 1 1% 
British, 2% NW European), Common Guillemots 
Uria aalge (126,250 individuals, 12% British, 
3% NW European) and Razorbills Alca torda 
(14,200 individuals, 10% British, 1% NW 
European), as well as nationally important 
numbers of Northern Fulmars Fidmaris glacialis 
(21,700 apparently occupied sites, 4% British 
population). The 1977 survey was prompted by 
a proposal to extract oil from the Beatrice Field on 
Smith bank in the Moray Firth. Oil platform sites 
were less than 20km from the seabird colonies on 
the east coast of Caithness; the Smith Bank itself 
is an important foraging and moulting area for 
"seabirds from the Caithness colonies (Mudge and 
Crooke 1986). Licences to extract oil from the 
Beatrice Field were granted and the field became 
operational in 1981. 

As part of abroad range of environmental research, 
the field operators commissioned work to monitor 
seabirds and seaduck in the Moray Firth throughout 



the year (Mudge and Cadbury 1987, Evans 1998). 
This included monitoring numbers of cliff 
breeding seabirds at sample plots at selected 
colonies on the east Caithness coast; this work 
was carried out from 1980 onwards (Mudge 
1986, Mudge and Cadbury 1987). From south to 
north, the colonies were Badbea. Inver Hill, An 
Dun, Iresgoe and Skirza. Monitoring continued 
until 1993, with data from additional plots for 
some species and productivity data for Fulmar 
and Kittiwake collected from 1985 onwards; a 
complete count of the Caithness colonies was 
undertaken in 1986 (Parsons 1986; Mudge and 
Cadbury 1987). 

Methods 

Methods for plot monitoring were described by 
Mudge (1986) and were compatible with those 
recommended by Walsh et al (1990). Each 
colony held a number of monitoring plots. Plot 
boundaries were shown on large photographs to 
enable plots to be identified accurately in the 
field. Plots at each colony were counted a 
minimum of 5 times during the first 3 weeks in 
June, to take account of fluctuating numbers of 
birds. Counts were carried out between 0800h 
and 1600h BST and each plot was counted at 
approximately the same time of day. to take 
account of regular diurnal attendance patterns of 



74 



birds. Count units were apparently occupied nests 
(AON) for Shag and Kittiwake, apparently 
occupied sites (AOS) for Fulmar and individual 
birds for Guillemot and Razorbill. Population 
totals for all species on the sample plots were 
derived from the mean of all counts each year, 
with the exception of Kittiwake. where the 
maximum single count made during the same 
period was used. 

Plots counted from 1 980 ( 'old plots' ) were targeted 
primarily at Guillemot, although all species were 
counted. In 1985 a number of additional plots 
('new plots') for single species apart from 
Guillemot were introduced. 'Old plots' were 
selected arbitrarily, while 'new plots' were selected 
at random from a larger number of identified 
plots, which were of an appropriate size ( 100 - 200 
count units) and which were countable safely 
from land. 

Fulmar chick production was calculated by 
expressing a count of chicks in early August as a 
fraction of the mean number of 5 or more counts 
of AOS in June. 

Between 1985 and 1988, Kittiwake chick 
production was assessed on the basis of a single 
count of chicks in mid July. Between 1989 and 
1993, weekly visits were made, until all chicks 
had fledged. On each visit the number of chicks 
present was counted. Chick production indices 
were based on the total number of large young 
present on the visit closest to first fledging 
expressed as a fraction of the peak number of 
AON for each plot. Plots were larger (200 - 300 
nests) than those recommended by Harris (1987). 
Between 1990 and 1993 attendance of Kittiwake 
nests by adults was also recorded on the weekly 
visits. 



SB 22(2) 



Results 

Population trends 

Overall, between 1980 and 1993, for all colonies 
combined, numbers of Fulmars (+13%) and 
Guillemots (+2%) increased and numbers of 
Kittiwakes (-9%) and Razorbills (-11%) decreased. 
There were no significant trends when data for all 
colonies were combined, but significant upward 
and downward trends were detected for some 
species at individual colonies. Overall and mean 
annual rates of change (± 95% confidence limits) 
and trends for species on 'old' plots for the period. 
1980 - 1993 are shown in Table 1. 

At colony level, there were significant upward 
trends for Kittiwake at Badbea and An Dun, for 
Guillemot at Badbea, Iresgoe and Skirza and for 
Razorbill at Skirza. Significant downward trends 
were detected for Kittiwake at Inver Hill, Iresgoe! 
ami Skir/a. foi Guillemot at An Hun and for 
Razorbill at Inver Hill and An Dun. No significant) 
trends were detected for Fulmar on 'old' plots at! 
any colony, nor for any of the species on 'new' 
plots. Mean annual rates of change for 'old' and; 
'new' plots for each species at the relevant colonies 
were broadly similar (Table 2). 

Productivity 

Northern Fulmar 

Chick production at An Dun ranged from 0.21 to I 
0.43 chicks/AOS and at Iresgoe from 0.2 1 to 0.4 1 , ! 
slightly lower than at other North Sea sites ( Walsh 
etal 1994). Productivity declined over the 9 year! 
period (Figure 1 ), with an increase in 1992 
corresponding to a more widespread increase in I 
Fulmar productivity in the North Sea (Walsh etal\ 
1 993), but there was no trend at either colony (An 
Dun r s = -0.296, Iresgoe r s = -0.588, n = 9 in both 
cases). Variation between colonies and years was 
not significant (2-way logistic ANOVA: F(year) 
= 4.130, df = 1 , 0. 1>P>0.05: F(colony) = 0.5009, 
df = 8, ns). 



I 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Cliff nesting seabirds in Caithness 



75 



Table 1. Overall percentage change in numbers, mean annual rates of change ( + 95% confidence 
limits), trends of population change (r s ) and probability values for sample plots ("old plots") at 5 
i seabird colonies in east Caithness 1980 - 1993. 





Colony/Species 


Fulmar 


Kittiwake Guillemot 


Razorbill 



Badbea 



Overall change (%) 


+9.6 


+41.0 


+25.5 


-9.9 


Mean annual change (%) 


+ 1.7 


+3.1 


+2.2 


+0.6 


(± 95% L.L.) 


(o.U) 


I ^ 1 \ 

OA) 


I ^ 1 \ 
(j.D) 


( 10. 1 ) 


r s 


-U.Uo 1 


U. / H-D 


U.O / J 


-a. J4y 


P 


ns 


<U.UUj 


<U.U 1 


ns 


Inver Hill 










Overall change (%) 




-25.0 


-12.4 


-39.7 


Mean annual change (%) 


- 


-2.0 


-0.8 


-0.6 


(X yj Iv v_ .L. ) 




( J.OJ 


(j.j) 


<\A A\ 


r s 




-u.o i y 


ft IClQ 

-u. jyo 


-U.DU4 


P 




<U.U5 


ns 


<U.Uj 


An Dun 










Overall change (%) 


-11.4 


+ 107.1 


-18.5 


-24.7 


Mean annual change (%) 


+0.1 


+6.4 


-0.8 


0.1 


(± 95% L.L.) 


(o.8) 


( / .0) 


(5.0) 


(11./) 


r s 


A ~) <\ 1 

-yj.—jj 


U.0-4 


-U.J Jo 


-U.jo / 


P 


ns 


<U.UU 1 


<U.Uj 


<U.un 


- 

Iresgoe 










Overall change (%) 


+43.8 


-22. 1 


+4.0 


-0.3 


Mean annual change (%) 


+3.7 


-1.6 


+0.5 


+0.8 


(± 95%C.L.) 


(7.5) 


(4.0) 


(3.5) 


(7.3) 


r s 


0.407 


-0.718 


0.582 


-0.068 


P 


ns 


<().( 1 1 


<U.Uj 


ns 


Skirza 










Overall change (%) 


+ 0.4 


-Zo. 1 


+ 11. J 


+-+o.y 


Mean annual change (%) 


+ 1.8 


-1.9 


+ 1.7 


+4.3 


(± 95%C.L.) 


(9.3) 


(5.0) 


(2.6) 


(8.6) 


r s 


-0.147 


-0.776 


0.820 


0.609 


P 


ns 


p<0.002 


p<0.001 


p<0.05 


All colonies combined 










Overall change (%) 


+ 13.1 


-9.0 


+ 1.5 


-10.9 


Mean annual change (%) 


+ 1.4 


-0.5 


+0.2 


0.0 


(± 95% C.L.) 


(5.2) 


(3.9) 


(2.9) 


(7.0) 


r s 


-0.024 


-0.051 


0.486 


-0.376 


P 


ns 


ns 


ns 


ns 



76 



SB 22(2) 



Table 2. Rates of non attendance of broods (sample size in brackets) by adult Black-legged 
Kittiwakes at study plots in east Caithness by brood size in mid July 1992 and 1993. 



Colony/Brood size 


b/1 


b/2 


b/3 


X 2 2* 


P 


1992 












An Dun 


31.5% 
(92) 


70. 1 % 
(144) 


78.6% 
(14) 


37.01 


<0.01 


Iresgoe 


26.7% 
(60) 


59.9% 
(142) 


75.0% 
(8) 


18.49 


<0.01 


Skirza 


3.4% 
(59) 


47.4% 
(97) 


100.0%(3) 
(3) 


33.37 


<0.01 


1993 












An Dun 


88.2% 
(110) 


94.4% 
(89) 


100.0% 
(6) 


2.55 


ns 


Iresgoe 


65.5% 
(84) 


90.3% 
(72) 


100.0% 
(2) 


10.49 


<0.01 


Skirza 


70.5% 
(61) 


90.0% 
(50) 


(0) 


5.24 


<0.05 



* %~ te sts for broods of one chick and broods of more than one chick. 



Bku k- legged Kittiwake 

Chick production between 1985 and 1993 ranged 
from 0.43 to 1 .5 1 chicks/AON at An Dun, 0.64 to 
1 .39 at Iresgoe and 0.59 to 1 .28 at Skirza. For all 
plots combined the mean range was 0.54 to 1.38. 
Chick production declined at all 3 monitored 
colonies and at An Dun the trend was significant 
(r s = -0.800, n = 9, P<0.02) (Figure 2). Chick 
production was particularly low in 1989 (due to 
late mortality of large chicks) and 1991 (due to 
widespread failure at the egg/small chick stage). 



Variation both between years and between colonies 
was significant (2 way logistic ANOVA: F(year) 
= 22.22, df = 8, P<0.0001 ; F(colony) = 6.739, df 
= 2. P<0.01) 

Mean breeding success (% of nests fledging one 
or more chicks) for 1990 - 1993 ranged from 59% 
at Skirza to 68% at An Dun and failure rates were 
usually spread fairly evenly through the breeding 
season. However, in 1991 widespread nest failure 
occurred at the egg/small chick stage with breeding 
success rates for the 3 colonies ranging only from 



Scottish Birds {2001) 



Figure 1. Northern Fulmar productivity (large chicks/AOS) at 2 colonies, east Caithness, 1985-93 
0.5 n 




0.1 - 

T 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 

1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 

Year 

Discussion 

For all colonies combined, changes in numbers of 
target species averaged less than 2% per year and 
there were no significant trends when plot data 
were lumped to give numbers for the whole study 
area. This picture masks large changes in numbers 
and significant trends for Kittiwakes, Guillemots 
and Razorbills on plots at individual colonies. 

Fulmars showed a non significant increase in east 
Caithness; elsewhere in Scotland, increases in 
Shetland and south east Scotland between 1986 
and 1993 were significant (Walsh el al 1994). 
Coverage of Fulmars by "old'" plots was low and 
Fulmars on these plots tended to be distributed on 
cliff top sites only, whereas the "new*" Fulmar 
plots covered large areas of cliff, from sea level to 
the top. Moreover, "old" plots were targeted 
primarily at Guillemots and tended to consist of 
bare rock ledges, compared with the "new" plots. 



Cliff nesting seabirds in Caithness 



77 



35%to43%(Figure3). Variation in the proportion 
of successful nests between years was significant, 
that between colonies was not (2-way logistic 
ANOVA: F(year) = 21.96, df=3. P<0.01; 
F(colony) = 0.958. df = 2. ns). 

Attendance of broods by adults was recorded 
between 1990 and 1993. Non-attendance of 
broods increased as each season progressed, and 
in mid- July ( immediately prior to fledging ) ranged 
from27%to91% over the 4years. Non attendance 
was more frequent in broods of 2 or 3 chicks than 
in broods of only one chick at all 3 monitored 
colonies in 1992 and at Iresgoe and Skirza (but 
not An Dun) in 1993 (Table 2). There was no 
significant relationship between the proportion of 
unattended broods and overall chick production 
at monitored colonies between 1990 and 1993 
(r s = -0.027, n = 12. ns). 



SB 22(2) 



and Iresgoe during 1985-1993 were similar, 
suggesting that coverage by the smaller old plots) 
reflected changes in the colony as a whole just as 
well as did the larger new plots. The "old" plots M 
gave much better coverage and were more suitable 
for Kittiwakes than for Fulmars (above). 

j 

Kittiwake chick production each year was similar 
to values recorded elsewhere in northern Scotland 
when allowance is made for the effects of ' ! 
differences in methodology (eg Harris and Wanless 
1990, Walsh et al 1993, but c/Danchin 1992). 
Chick production declined during 1985-1993 at \ 
all 3 monitored colonies: the overall chick 
production index in 1993 was only 70% of the 
1985 value, equivalent to a reduction in chickj 
production each year of 0.05 chicks/AONJ 
Declining Kittiwake chick production wasl 
described by Harris and Wanless (1990) for a ! 
number of colonies in the North Sea for the years '< ( 
1986-1988. Although the Caithness colonies did 1 
not exhibit the poor breeding success recorded at 



Figure 2. Black-legged Kittiwake productivity (chicks fledged/AOS) at 3 colonies 
in east Caithness, 1985-1993. 




H 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 

1985 1986 1987 1988 1989 1990 1991 1992 1993 

Year 



which by and large consisted of more vegetated 
sections of cliff, more suitable for Fulmars. The 
differences in rates of change recorded between 
"old" and "new" plots for Fulmar at Iresgoe and 
An Dun can probably be largely accounted for by 
the fact that the new plots were (a) more suitable 
for Fulmars and (b) gave much increased coverage. 
The fact that an overall increase of more than 40% 
in Fulmar numbers on the "old" plots at Iresgoe 
was not reflected by a significant trend was 
probably due to small the sample size of Fulmars 
covered by the "old" plots. 

The overall small decline in numbers of breeding 
Kittiwakes included 2 periods of decline ( 1 980- 
1 985 and 1990- 1 993 ) separated by a large increase 
in numbers between 1985 and 1990. Moreover, 
there were both declines and increases at individual 
colonies: changes in numbers on plots during 
1 980-1993 ranged from -28% at Skirza to + 1 07% 
(or +6.4%/year) at An Dun. Changes in numbers 
and trends for old and new plots at both An Dun 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Cliff nesting seabirds in Caithness 



79 



other North Sea colonies in 1988. there has been 
a decline in the productivity of the Caithness 
colonies since 1989. Chick production between 
. 1988 and 1993 fluctuated dramatically compared 
with the period 1985-1988. though in keeping 
with other North Sea colonies, the fluctuations 
,were not as dramatic as those recorded at some 
colonies in Alaska (eg Murphy et al 1991 ). 

Harris and Wanless ( 1 990 ) suggested that shortage 
of food might be responsible for the widespread 
breeding failure of Kittiwakes in the North Sea in 
1988 and that this might be indicated by increased 
non-attendance of broods by adults observed at 
the Isle of May (Wanless and Harris 1 989): similar 
conclusions have been reached by other authors 
working elsewhere (eg Cadiou and Monnat 1996 
in Brittany). Rates of non-attendance of broods 
by adult Kittiwakes in Caithness between 1990 
and 1993 were as high or higher than those 
observed by Wanless and Hams (1989) and in 
Alaska by Roberts and Hatch (1993): however, 
there was apparently no relationship between 
rates of non attendance of broods by adults in mid 
July and chick production for the Caithness plots 
for these years (cf Roberts and Hatch 1993). This 
may partly be explained by the fact that, in 1991, 
widespread nest failure in Caithness occurred at 



the egg or small chick stage, and that although 
chick production was poor, the percentage of 
adults attending the few remaining nests was 
higher than in other years when chick production 
was higher. Generally, non attendance each 
season increased as the fledging period progressed 
and was more frequent in large broods than in 
small broods, presumably reflecting relatively 
greater food requirements of larger broods (cf 
Wanless and Harris 1989. Roberts and Hatch 
1993). 

The overall increase of +1.5% for Guillemot 
numbers for 1980-1993 masks periods of decline 
(1980-1985 - Mudge 1986) and increase ( 1986 - 
1993). The latter was broadly in line with an 
increase of 2.2%/year for colonies in the North 
Sea (based on data in Walsh et al 1994). There 
were also changes in numbers and significant 
trends at individual colonies. Mean annual rates 
of change on monitored plots during 1980-1993 
ranged from -0.8%/year at An Dun and Inver Hill 
to +2.2%/year at Badbea. This variation in trends 
between colonies contrasts with the situation 
observed in Shetland between the early 1 970s and 
1 990. where numbers at all but one of 7 monitored 
colonies increased up to 1982 and all declined 
rapidly and at broadly similar rates between 1 982 



Figure 3. Percentage of Black-legged Kittiwake nests containing eggs or young each week (week 
7 = week of fledging) at 3 colonies in east Caithness (square = An Dun, triangle = Iresgoe; circle 
= Skirza) in each of 4 years 1990 - 1993. 




so 



SB 22(2) 



c) 1992 




e 60 ■ 
a so ■ 

c 40 - 
^ 30 ■ 

20 ■ 

10 ■ 

-I 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 

Week 

and 1990 (Heubeck et al 1991). Guillemot 
breeding success at Iresgoe in 1993 (0.70 ± 0.03 
chicks fledged/pair) was similar to that recorded 
at other North Sea colonies in 1993 (Walsh et al 
1994); breeding success for Fulmars and 
Kittiwakes in east Caithness varied more by year 
than by colony, so variations in Guillemot breeding 
success are unlikely to explain differing rates of 
population change between colonies. At least 2 
Guillemots ringed as chicks in east Caithness 
have been recruited as breeding birds into the 
colony at North Sutor. in Easter Ross (Swann 
1992). Further afield, Halley and Harris (1993) 
recorded Caithness ringed immature Guillemots 
attending colonies on the Isle of May, where they 
also recorded a Shetland ringed bird recruited into 
the colony as a breeding bird. In spite of relatively 
high degrees of philopatry (the tendency for birds 
to be recruited as breeders to their natal colony or 
sub colony ) exhibited by Guillemots at the Isle of 
May (Halley et al. 1995. Harris et al. 1996) and 
elsewhere {eg Swann and Ramsay 1983), it is 
possible that inter colony recruitment on a large 
scale within Caithness might explain, at least in 
part, the large differences between rates of change 
at individual colonies, in conjunction with the 
very small overall changes in Guillemot numbers 
observed through east Caithness as a whole. 
Between 1986 and 1989 over 8000 Guillemot 
chicks were ringed in east Caithness; records of 
even a small number of these birds breeding at 
colonies in Caithness, or further afield, might 
shed more light on this question. 




° 30 



Numbers of Razorbills on the "old plots" were 
small; small sample sizes might account in part for 
the wide variation in direction and scale of 
population change on these plots (-39.7% to 
+46.9%). The "new" plot for Razorbills at An I 
Dun, first counted in 1984, showed an increase of I 
+ 18.6%, compared with a decrease of -8.6% on |l 
the "old" plots for the same period; however, I 
mean annual rates of change were +2.3% (±6.0) I 
for the "new" plot and + 1 . 8% (± 1 6.2 ) for the "old" I 
plots, more in line with an overall rate of change j 
of+l%/year for North Sea colonies between 1986 I 
and 1993 (based on data in Walsh et al 1994). | 
Within the study area the only colony to show an I 
increase in numbers between 1980 and 1993 ("old I 
plots") was Skirza, the most northerly colony. I 
The largest decline in numbers was at Inver Hill, ] I 
closely followed by An Dun; both these colonies 
also showed reductions in Guillemot numbers 
over the same period. Guillemot numbers at 
Skirza increased, as they dj id to a lesser degree at 
Iresgoe and Badbea (the most southerly colony), 
which showed more modest declines in Razorbill 
numbers. 

Acknowledgements 

The work was carried out by the Research 
Department and the North Scotland Regional 
Office of the RSPB as part of the Beatrice Field 
Environmental Monitoring Programme funded \ I 
by Britoil pic and their partners in the Beatrice I 
Field, and BP Petroleum Development Ltd. 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Cliff nesting seabirds in Caithness 



SI 



The work was supervised by Len Campbell, Tim 
Stowe, Greg Mudge, Roy Dennis and Colin 
Crooke. Pre 1988 data were gathered by Simon 
Aspinal. Ian Bullock. Colin Crooke and Sue 
Parsons. Comments from Rhys Green, Stan da 
Prato, Norman Ratcliffe. Ron Summers, Paul 
Walton and an anonymous referee greatly 
improved earlier versions of this paper. 

References 

Cadiou B and Monnat J-Y 1996. Parental attendance 
and squatting in the Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla during 
the rearing period. Bird Study 43: 164-171. 
Danchin E 1992. Food shortage as a factor in the 1988 
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla breeding failure in Shetland. 
Ardea 80: 93-98. 

HalleyD J and Harris MP 1993. Intercolony movement 
and behaviour of immature Guillemots Uria aalge. Ibis 
135: 264-270. 

Halley D J. Harris M P and Wanless S 1995. Colony 
attendance patterns and recruitment in immature 
Common Murres (Uria aalge) Auk \\2: 947-957. 
Harris M P 1987. A low input method of monitoring 
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla breeding success. Biological 
Conservation 41: 1-10. 

Harris MP. HalleyD J and Wanless S 1996. Philopatry 
in the Common Guillemot Uria aalge. Bird Study 43: 
134-137. 

Harris M P and Wanless S 1990. Breeding success of 
British Kittiwakes Rissa tridactyla in 1986-88: evidence 
for changing conditions in the North Sea. Journal of 
Applied Ecology 27: 172-187. 

Heubeck M, Harvey P V and Okill J D 1991 . Changes 
in the Shetland Guillemot Uria aalge population and 
the pattern of recoveries of ringed birds. Seabird 13:3- 
i 21. 



Mudge G P 1979. The cliff breeding seabirds of east 
Caithness in 1977. Scottish Birds 10: 247-261. 
Mudge G P 1986. Trends of population change at 
colonies of cliff nesting seabirds in the Moray Firth. 
Proceedings of the Roxal Society of Edinburgh 9 IB: 
73-80. 

Mudge G P and Cadbury C J 1987. The Moray Firth: 
its importance for seabirds and seaducks. RSPB 
Conserx-ation Review 1: 51-55. 
Mudge G P and Crooke C H 1986. Seasonal changes in 
the numbers and distribution of seabirds in the Moray 
Firth. NE Scotland. Proceedings of the Royal Society 
of Edinburgh 91B: 81-104. 

Murphy E C. Springer A M and Rosneau D G 1991. 

High annual variability in reproductive success of 

Kittiwakes (Rissa tridactyla) at a colony in western 

Alaska. Journal of Animal Ecology 60: 515-534. 

Roberts B A and Hatch S A 1993. Behavioural ecology 

of Black-legged Kittiwakes during chick rearing at a 

failing colony. Condor 95: 330-342. 

Swann R L 1992. Counts of seabirds in Easter Ross in 

1969-91. Scottish Birds 16: 200-204. 

Swann R L and Ramsay A D K 1983. Movements from 

and age of return to an expanding Scottish Guillemot 

colony. Bird Study 30: 207-214. 

Walsh F M, Brindley E and Heubeck M 1994. Seabird 

numbers and breeding success in Britain and Ireland, 

1993 JNCC. 

Wanless S and Harris M P 1989. Kittiwake attendance 
patterns during chick rearing on the Isle of May . Scottish 
Birds 15: 156-161. 



Richard Evans, Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, 25, Ravelston Terrace, 

Edinburgh EH4 3TP 



Revised manuscript accepted March 2001 



82 Scottish Birds (2001) 22:82-91 



SB 22(2) 



Status, distribution and breeding success of the Red-billed Chough in 
Scotland in 1998 

AS COOK, MC GRANT, CR McKAY & MA PEACOCK 

A survey of Red-billed Choughs in Scotland in 1998 estimated a total of 58 - 66 breeding 
pairs, with at least 52 non breeding birds present. Islay held 44 - 49 breeding pairs, with 
11 - 14 breeding pairs on Colonsay, and single pairs on Jura, Mull and in Galloway. This 
represents a substantial decline since 1986, with the number of breeding pairs in Scotland 
having decreased by 37%. The decline is due almost entirely to changes on Islay where 
the number of breeding pairs has decreased by 48% since 1986. In contrast to Islay, the 
small population on Colonsay has increased from 7 to 14 breeding pairs since 1986. On 
Islay the chance of a nest site having continued occupation or new occupation between 
1986 and 1998 was related to nest site type, with a similar number of pairs using nest sites 
in buildings in both years but with fewer pairs at natural nest sites in 1998. The factors 
causing this association between nest site type and the chance of occupation are unknown 
but could be related to the tendency for natural nest sites to be on the coast or to other 
attributes of the sites at which the different nest types tend to occur. The average fledging 
success on Islay in 1998, at 2.07 fledglings per pair, did not differ between regions or 
between pairs nesting in buildings or natural sites and was similar to the levels recorded 
between 1983 and 1985 when numbers on Islay were increasing. On Colonsay an average 
of 2. 78 fledglings were produced per pair in 1998 which, if typical of other years, could lead 
to the observed differences in population trends between Islay and Colonsay. 



Introduction 

Having declined throughout the eighteenth and 
nineteenth centuries, the Red-billed Chough 
Pyrrhocorax pyrrhocorax now has a highly 
localised distribution in Britain and Ireland, being 
restricted largely to the western coasts and islands 
(Gibbons et al 1993). Thus, within the UK 
Choughs are confined to Wales, the Inner Hebrides 
and a few isolated locations on the mainland of 
south west Scotland and the north coast of Northern 
Ireland. This concentration of the UK population 
in such a small number of localities, together with 
the species' unfavourable conservation status in 
Europe (eg Bignal & Curtis 1 989, Tucker & Heath 
1994), means that it is on the UK's amber list of 
birds of conservation concern (Gibbons et al 
1996). The numbers of Choughs in Scotland 



represent approximately 24% of those in the UK 
and Isle of Man, and 6% of those in Britain and 
Ireland, and have tended to fluctuate over the last 
20 years (Berrow et al 1993, Bignal et al 1997). 
Thus, the numbers of recorded breeding pairs 
increased from 72 to 105 between 1982 and 1986 
but subsequently declined to 88 in 1992 (Table 1). 
The increase between 1982 and 1986 may have 
been partly attributable to increased survey 
coverage in 1986 but there appears to be little 
doubt that a genuine increase did occur (Monaghan 
et al 1 989 ), whilst coverage and effort were thought 
to be similar during the 1 986 and 1 992 surveys (R 
Green, pers comm). 

Within Scotland the Isle of Islay has been the 
major stronghold of Choughs for many years, 
holding 85 - 90% of the breeding pairs in Scotland 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Red-billed Chough in Scotland, 1998 83 



between 1982 and 1992 (Table 1, Bignal et al 
1997). Thus, the recent fluctuations recorded in 
the numbers of Choughs in Scotland have been 
due almost solely to changes in the numbers on 
Islay. Following the decline in numbers on Islay 
between 1986 and 1992. anecdotal observations, 
together with surveys over a limited part of the 

i island, suggested that this decline had continued 
up to 1997 (Madders et al 1998). As a result of 
these concerns the present study was undertaken 
in 1998 with the aims of establishing the number 
of Choughs breeding in Scotland, determining 

■ their level of breeding success in 1998 and 
investigating factors that may be associated with 
population change. 

Methods 

Survey area 

Surveys were undertaken throughout the breeding 
range of Choughs in Scotland, though coverage 
varied between areas (Fig 1 ). Thus, on Islay and 
Colonsay. where most of the Scottish population 
breeds, virtually all the coastline was checked, 
and all potentially suitable inland sites (ie mainly 
ruined buildings) were checked. The eastern 
coast of Islay was not covered fully since just two 
I nesting sites have been recorded on this stretch of 
. coast previously. Here the previously known nest 
f sites were checked, whilst for the remaining area 
lkm stretches of coast where at least 50% of the 
I coast comprised cliffs of 3m or more in height 
were identified and a random selection of 30% of 
these lkm stretches were surveyed. On Jura all 
historically known nesting areas on the west coast 
were covered, whilst the east coast was covered as 
for the east coast of Islay. Additionally, inland 
areas of Jura known to have been frequented by 
Choughs in the past were searched for evidence of 
Chough activity (Fig 1 ). The west and south west 
coast of the Mull of Kintyre. from Machrihanish 
(NR6200 ) to Caskey ( NR6507 ), was surveyed, as 
were historically known nest sites on Mull and in 
Galloway. 



Estimating population size and fledging success 

Numbers of breeding pairs were assessed following 
the same methods used in the 1986 and 1992 
Chough surveys and detailed by Monaghan et al 
( 1989). On Islay and Colonsay all of the coastal 
areas specified above and all known inland sites 
were searched twice, as were all historically known 
nest sites elsewhere. Periods for the first and 
second searches were 4 April to 7 May and 8 May 
to 15 June. Other stretches of coastline (Fig 1) 
were searched once only during this period, unless 
evidence of nesting was found. Searches of 
coastal areas were conducted by slowly walking 
along the relevant stretch of coast and stopping at 
vantage points and known nesting areas. 
Observations at vantage points were undertaken 
for 10 - 15 mins or longer if Choughs were 
located. Any birds located were observed to 
determine breeding status. During these searches 
solitary birds or pairs which were found feeding 
were also observed until they left the feeding area, 
at which point they were followed to determine 
whether or not they were returning to a nest site. 
Thorough searching of potentially suitable sea 
caves, gullies and mined buildings was conducted 
throughout the survey area. 

Assessment of breeding status followed the criteria 
of Monaghan et al (1989) closely, with the 
following categories used: 

Confirmed breeding. Sites where nests with 
eggs or young were observed, where adult 
birds were observed incubating, feeding 
young, leaving the nest with egg shell or 
faecal sac, where nestlings were heard or 
where dependent young were observed with 
parents. 

Probable breeding. Sites where Choughs 
were present and were suspected of breeding 
(eg observed repeatedly visiting a potential 
nest site) but where this was not confirmed, 
largely because of inaccessibility of the site. 



84 



SB 22(2) 



Pair present. Sites known to be visited by 
Choughs but where nest building was never 
completed or where egg laying was not 
believed to have occurred. 

Fledging success at most nests was estimated 
between 16 June and 15 July, although at some 
nests where fledging was early such estimates 
were possible during the previous search period. 
To estimate fledging success observations were 
undertaken at known occupied sites to count 
nearly fledged chicks still in the nest or dependent 
young which were present near the nest site. Nests 
that were known to have failed were included in 
assessments of overall fledging success. 

During survey work to assess breeding numbers 
and fledging success, the size of any non breeding 
flocks encountered was recorded to provide an 
indication of the likely total population size. 



Results 

Population size and fledging success 

A total of 55 pairs of Red-billed Choughs were 
confirmed breeding in Scotland in 1998, with a 
further 3 probable breeding pairs and 8 pairs 
recorded as present. Approximately 75% of the 
breeding population was found on Islay and 20% 
on Colonsay, with single breeding pairs on 
Jura, Mull and in Galloway (Table 2). On Islay, 
most pairs were found in the Rhinns (Fig 1 and 
Table 2) and 23 of the 49 recorded pairs used 
natural nest sites, such as coastal cliffs and caves, 
as opposed to nesting in buildings (Table 3). 
Elsewhere, Choughs used natural nest sites except 
for one pair on Colonsay which nested in a building. 
Counts of non breeding flocks suggested that there 
were approximately 35 non breeding Choughs on 
Islay and a further 17 on Colonsay, with no 
evidence of non breeders elsewhere. 



Table 1. Changes in the numbers and distribution of breeding Red-billed Choughs in Scotland, 1982 
- 1998. Total estimates of breeding pairs (combining confirmed, probable and present categories - 
see Methods) are presented. Data after Warnes 1983, Monaghan et al 1989, Signal et al 1997 and 
current study. 



Area 


1982: 




1986: 




1992: 


1998: 






Pairs Non Br 


Pairs Non Br 


pairs Non Br 


Pairs Non Br 


Islay 


61 


35 - 53** 


95 


105 - 120 




49 


35 


Colonsay 


1 





7 


10 




14 


17 


Jura 


8* 


<7 


3 







1 





Mull 












1 





Mull of Kintyre 


2 


<7 
















Galloway 









(I 




1 





Total Scotland 


72 


49 - 67 


105 


115 - 130 


88 62 


66 


52 



* based on an approximate assessment, not on systematic counts. 

** includes three birds recorded as 'helpers' at the nests of other pairs. 

Full breakdown of 1992 survey data not yet published. 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Red-billed Chough in Scotland, 1998 85 



Figure 1. The areas surveyed for breeding Red-billed Choughs on Islay, Colonsay and Jura in 1998 
and the intensity of survey effort. Black - whole area visited twice; horizontal hatch - 30% of suitable 
nesting habitat visited twice; cross hatch - whole area visited once; vertical hatch - 30% of suitable 
nesting habitat visited once; white - area not included in survey. Regions of Islay used in subsequent 
analyses are also shown (see text). 



COLONSAY 




rhus.in 1998 there were an estimated 184 Choughs 
n Scotland (excluding young from 1998), of 
A'hich 72% were on Islay. 

hedging success data were obtained from all 
:onfirmed breeding pairs except for one pair on 
Zolonsay. An average of 2.07 (±0.19 se, n=43) 
"ledglings per breeding pair were produced on 
[slay and 2.78 (± 0.40 se, n=9) on Colonsay. 
while the single pairs on Jura, Mull and in Galloway 
produced 2 , zero and 4 fledglings, respectively. 



Fledging success did not differ significantly 
between Islay and Colonsay (t 50 =l .52, P=0.13), 
and within Islay there were no significant 
differences in fledging success between pairs 
which nested in buildings and natural sites 
(F =0.03, P=0.87) or between pairs nesting in 
the 3 regions shown in Fig 1 (F 24O =0.55, 
P=0.58). 



SB 22(2) 



Factors influencing the occupancy of nest sites 
on Islay 

Locations of Chough nests on Islay in 1998 were 
compared with those found during the 1 986 survey 
(P. Monaghan, unpubl data) to identify factors 
associated with changes in the use of nest sites 
(Table 3). Forty nine nest sites with continued 
occupation or new occupation between 1986 and 
1998 were identified and compared to the 68 that 
were occupied in 1986 but not in 1998 
(subsequently referred to as 'deserted' sites). 
Whether a nest site had continued or new 
occupation as opposed to becoming 'deserted' 
was examined in relation to the following variables: 
nest site type (ie building or natural), coastal or 
inland location, region (as defined in Fig 1) and 
proximity to the nearest occupied Peregrine Falcon 
Falco peregrinus eyrie (as assessed from data 
collected on Islay for the 1991 National Peregrine 
Table 2. Detailed breakdown of the number and 
recorded in Scotland in 1998. 



Survey - RSPB, unpubl data). Coastal location 
was defined in 2 ways, namely within 1km of the 
coast and immediately adjacent to the coast. 
Distance to Peregrine eyries was included in this 
analysis because Peregrines are predators of 
juvenile and adult Choughs (Bignal et al 1997) 
and their numbers on Islay have increased in 
recent years (Crick & Ratcliffe 1995). 

When considered in a single analysis nest site type 
was the only variable significantly related to the 
likelihood of continued or new occupation of nest 
sites, with the number of pairs using natural nest 
sites decreasing from 69 to 23, but the number 
using building nest sites increasing from 25 to 26, 
between 1986 and 1998 (see Appendix). However, 
the independent variables considered in this 
analysis tended to be highly intercorrelated (Table 
3 ), so that there was a high chance of obtaining a 
spuriously significant relationship when 

distribution of breeding pairs of Choughs 



Area 


Confirmed 


Probable 


Present 


Total 


Islay 










Rhinns 


28 


1 


4 


33 


Oa 


6 








6 


elsewhere 


9 





1 


10 


Total Islay 


43 


1 


5 


49 


Colonsay 


9 


2 


3 


14 


Jura 


1 








1 


Mull 


1 


(t 





1 


Mull of Kintyre 














Galloway 


1 








1 


Total Scotland 


55 


3 


8 


66 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Red-bille, 



'd Chough in Sc( 



otland, 1998 87 



conducting multivariate analyses. When the effect 
of each of these variables on nest site occupation 
was considered separately, whether or not a nest 
site was immediately adjacent to the coast also 
had a significant effect (see Appendix). Coastal 
nesting was particularly closely linked to nest site 
type, with none of the building nest sites being 
immediately adjacent to the coast and only 12 of 
the natural nest sites being 'inland'. Thus, between 
1986 and 1998 the number of pairs nesting on the 
coast declined from 58 to 19, whilst the number 
nesting away from the coast declined from 36 to 
30. 

Discussion 

' The current study has demonstrated that the 
, Scottish Red-billed Chough population continued 
to decline between 1 992 and 1 998, with the rate of 
; decline since 1 992 being higher than that recorded 
between 1986 and 1992 (Fig 2). This is due 
almost entirely to the decline in numbers on Islay, 
which held 90% of the Scottish breeding 
population in 1986 but only 75% in 1998 (Table 
1). Thus, both the Islay and overall Scottish 
breeding populations are now smaller than in 
1982 and represent 52% and 63%, respectively, of 
! the 1986 estimates. Additionally, the numbers of 
j birds counted in non-breeding flocks on Islay 
during the 1998 breeding season was 
approximately 30% of the numbers reported in 
! 1986 (Table 1 ). In contrast to Islay, the small 
population on Colonsay has increased from seven 
; to 14 breeding pairs since 1 986, with the numbers 
j of birds counted in non breeding flocks also 
increasing from 10 to 17. 

Previous studies have identified a wide range of 
factors which may influence the abundance and 
distribution of Choughs in Britain and Ireland, 
with the occurrence of a relatively wet and mild 
climate, along with low intensity pastoral and 
mixed agricultural systems appearing to be 
particularly important (Bullockef al 1983, McKay 



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SB 22(2) 



1996, Bignal & Curtis 1989). Other factors such 
as predation and interspecific competition for nest 
sites have also been suggested as important in 
limiting abundance and distribution (Bignal etal 
1997). The current decline of Choughs on Islay 
has coincided with a period of relatively mild 
winters which, together with the fact that numbers 
on the nearby island of Colonsay have increased 
over this same period, suggests that climatic factors 
are an unlikely cause. Analyses performed in the 
present study suggest that the factors causing the 
decline on Islay are linked to nest site type, or 
perhaps to location in relation to the coast. Nest 
sites in buildings were more likely to have 
continued occupation or new occupation since 
1 986 than were natural nest sites, but nest site type 
was so closely linked to coastal location that it was 
impossible to disentangle these confounding 
effects. Given that fledging success on Islay did 
not differ between pairs using building and natural 
nest sites during the present study (as was also the 
case in earlier studies - Bignal et al 1987) then it 
is difficult to envisage ways in which the 
association with continued occupation or new 
occupation is directly attributable to the nest site 
type per se. However, it is possible that coastal 
nesting has become disadvantageous in terms of 
the survival of recently fledged juvenile or adult 
Choughs, orelse certain types of land management 
which benefit juvenile or adult survival (eg cattle 
grazing) may be more strongly associated with 
sites where old buildings are present. Whatever 
the cause of the observed association, it indicates 
the importance of ensuring that an adequate supply 
of suitable 'artificial' nest sites remains available 
to Choughs on Islay. 

In terms of land management which affects 
Choughs, much attention has previously focused 
on livestock husbandry practices since these 
determine the availability of short sward pastures 
upon which Choughs can forage for invertebrates 
(Bignal etal 1996), while livestock, particularly 
cattle, provide sources of dung living invertebrates 



which are an important food of first winter Choughs 
on Islay (McKay 1996). Perhaps surprisingly, the 
period of population decline of Choughs on Islay 
has coincided with an increase in the total numbers 
of both cattle and sheep on the island but other, 
more subtle, changes in livestock husbandry which 
could be detrimental to Choughs appear to have 
occurred (Cook et al 1 999, McKay & Cook 1 999). 
Thus, on 2 potentially important foraging habitats 
(dune systems and hill grazings) there is evidence 
of widespread reductions in the extent of 
permanent, year round cattle grazing (McKay & 
Cook 1 999). It is not known if such changes could 
have had a disproportionate effect on pairs breeding 
at natural (or coastal) nest sites, either because of 
the distributional pattern of such changes or 
because of differences in the availability of 
alternative foraging habitats around the different 
nest site types, but interestingly such changes do 
not appear to have occurred on Colonsay where 
Chough numbers have increased. 

Between 1983 and 1985 annual fledging success 
of Choughs on Islay averaged 2.02 fledglings per 
breeding pair, with little variation between years, 
whilst the annual survival rates of Choughs from 
fledging to one year and from two to three years 
were estimated as 71% and 74%, respectively 
(Bignal et al 1987). Thus, fledging success on 
Islay in 1998 was similar to that recorded during 
a period of population increase and, if typical of 
recent years, suggests that changes to fledging 
success are not involved in causing the current 
population decline. Instead, adult and/or juvenile 
mortality rates or the net emigration rate must 
have increased. 

If the main demographic change has been to 
mortality rates, then the extent of change required 
to account for the observed population decline 
can be calculated using the productivity and 
survival estimates produced by Bignal et al ( 1 983 ), 
and by assuming that the average age of first 
breeding forChoughs is in their third year (Bullock 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Red billed Chough in Scotland, 1998 89 



Figure 2. Changes in numbers of breeding Red-billed Choughs recorded in Scotland ( — -O — ) 
and on May (- -< — ), 1982 - 98 (data after Warnes 1983, Monaghan et al 1989, Bignal et al 
1997, E Bignal, unpubl data, after Madders et al 1998 and current study). 




et al 1983) and that annual survival rates remain 
constant after their second year. Such calculations 
indicate that the population decline on Islay can 
be explained by either; (i) an annual survival rate 
of juveniles of 40% between 1986 and 1991 and 
of 35% between 1992 and 1997; (ii) an annual 
survival rate of adults of 65% between 1986 and 
1991 and of 64% between 1992 and 1997; or (iii) 
a combination of reduced juvenile and adult 
survival rates within the levels indicated. 
Performing similar calculations, under the same 
set of assumptions, using the fledging success 
estimate from Colonsay in 1998 indicates that the 
observed increase in numbers of breeding pairs on 
Colonsay between 1986 and 1998 could be 
sustained with either an annual survival rate of 
40% for juveniles, assuming an adult survival rate 
of 74%, or of 65% for adults, assuming a juvenile 
survival rate of 71%. 

As yet, current survival rates of juvenile and adult 
Choughs on Islay are unknown but work on 
resighting rates of colour ringed birds is underway 
to determine whether or not they are lower than 
those recorded during the period of population 
increase. While decreased juvenile and/or adult 
survival rates (or increased emigration rates ) seem 



Year 

more likely to be involved in causing the current 
decline on Islay than are reductions in fledging 
success, the calculations performed using the 
fledging success estimates from Colonsay illustrate 
that even a moderate change in fledging success 
can have a marked effect on the population trend. 
Thus, further monitoring of fledging success on 
Islay is also required to determine whether the 
levels recorded in 1998 are typical of the present. 
Clearly, little credence can yet be given to the 
indications from the above calculations that the 
contrasting population trends on Islay and 
Colonsay are attributable to differences in fledging 
success since the respective estimates are available 
from one year only and do not differ significantly. 
Establishing whether such levels of fledging 
success are typical on Colonsay would be of 
considerable value and would help to determine 
the extent to which the contrasting population 
trends on the two islands are associated with 
conditions during the breeding season, if at all. 

Acknowledgements 

Thanks are due to the many farmers and other 
landowners who allowed us access for the purposes 
of this survey. Roger Broad, Richard Evans, 



90 



SB 22(2) 



Douglas Gilbert, James Howe. David Jardine, 
Chris Rollie and Julie Stoneman all assisted with 
survey work. Ian Bainbridge, Tricia Bradley, 
Douglas Gilbert and Rhys Green helped in 
instigating and designing the survey. Professor 
Pat Monaghan provided access to unpublished 
information, Jean Burns sorted complicated 
financial arrangements and Alix Middleton 
assisted with data sorting. Ian Bainbridge. Nigel 
Buxton, David Gibbons, Roger Broad and an 
anonymous referee commented on an earlier 
unpublished report of this work, or on earlier 
drafts of this paper. Many thanks to all of the 
above. The project was funded jointly by SNH 
and RSPB. 

References 

Berrow S D. Mackie K L. O'SulIivan O. Shepherd K B. 
Mellon C&Coveney J A 1993. The second international 
Chough survey in Ireland. 1992. Irish Birds 5: 1-10. 
Bignal E. Bignal S & McCracken D 1997. The social 
life of the Chough. British Wildlife 8: 373-383. 
Bignal E M & Curtis D J (eds) 1989. Choughs and 
Land-Use in Europe. Scottish Cough Study Group. 
Argyll. 

Bignal E M. McCracken D I, Stillman R A & Ovenden 
G N 1996. Feeding behaviour of nesting Choughs in 
the Scottish Hebrides. Journal of Field Ornithology 
67: 25-43. 

Bignal E. Monaghan P, Benn S, Bignal S, Still E & 
Thompson PM 1987. Breeding success and post- 
fledging survival in the Chough Pyrrhocorax 
pyrrhocorax. Bird Study 34: 39-42. 
Bullock I D, Drewett D R & Mickleburgh S P 1983. 
The Chough in Britain and Ireland. British Birds 76: 
377-401. 

Cook A S. McKay. C R. Peacock, M A & Grant. M C 
1999. Scottish Chough Sun-ey 1998 - 99. Unpublished 
report. RSPB. 

Crick. H Q P & Ratcliffe, D A 1995. The Peregrine 
Falco peregrinus breeding population of the United 
Kingdom in 1991. Bird Study 42, 1-19. 
Gibbons D W, Avery M I. Baillie S R, Gregory R D. 
Kirby J. Porter R F. Tucker G M & Williams G 1996. 
Bird species of conservation concern in the United 
Kingdom, Channel Islands and Isle of Man: revising 



the Red Data List. RSPB Conservation Review 10: 7- j 
18. 

GibbonsDW.ReidJB&ChapmanRA 1993. The Newt 
Atlas of Breeding Birds In Britain and Ireland: 1988- 
1991. T & A D Poyser, London. 
Madders M, Leckie F M. Watson J & McKay C R 1 998. 
Distribution and foraging habitat preferences of Choughs ' 
on The Oa peninsula, Islay. Scottish Birds 19: 280-289. | 
McKay C R 1 996. The ecology and conservation of the \. 
Red-billed Chough. Unpublished Ph D thesis. 
University of Glasgow. 

McKay C R & Cook A S 1999. 1999 RSPB/SNH Islay 
and Colonsay Choughs and farming project report. I 
Unpublished report. RSPB. 

Monaghan P. Bignal E, Bignal S. Easterbee N &| 
McKay C R 1989. The distribution and status of the | 
Chough in Scotland in 1986. Scottish Birds 15: 1 14- 1 
118. 

Tucker, G M & Heath, M F 1994. Birds in Europe: \ 
Their Conservation Status. Cambridge. UK: BirdLife 
International. 

Warnes, J M 1983. The status of the Chough in! 
Scotland. Scottish Birds 12: 238-246. 

Appendix: Logistic regression analyses of nest 
site occupancy in relation to site characteristics 

Locations of Chough nests on Islay in 1998 were 
compared with those in 1986 (P. Monaghan, 
unpubl old data). Whether the nest site was of 
continued occupation or new occupation since i 
1986 or whether it had become 'deserted' since I 
1986 was made the binary dependent variable, 
using logistic regression analyses to test for 
associations between the dependent variable and 
the following independent variables: 

(i) Nest site type (ie building or natural). 

(ii) Coastal or inland. Coastal being defined, first, 
as within 1 km of the coast and also as immediately! 
adjacent to the coast. 

(iii) Region, defined as The Rhinns, The Oa and' 
elsewhere (see Fig 1). 

(iv) Distance to the nearest Peregrine eyrie (asj 
assessed from data collected during the 1991, 
National Peregrine Survey). 



Scottish Birds {2001) 



Red billed Chough in Scotland, 1998 91 



A multivariate approach was initially adopted, 
using a step down procedure to determine 
significant effects (at P =or< 0.05). Thus, all 
independent variables were entered, deleting the 
one with the lowest significance level and then 
repeating the process until only the significant 
effects remained. Significance testing was 
undertaken by treating the deviance (-2 x log 
likelihood) of the models which did, and did not. 
include the effect as X 2 , with the appropriate 
degrees of freedom ( ie equivalent to the number of 
parameters removed from the model). Two 
separate multivariate analyses were performed, 
using the two different definitions of coastal 
nesting. 

Only nest site type was found to be significantly 
related to the likelihood of occupation in the 
multivariate analyses (change in deviance (DD ) - 



11.46, df=l. P=0.001), irrespective of which 
definition of coastal nesting was used. This was 
due to a higher proportion of building nest sites 
having continued occupation or new occupation. 
Since the various independent variables used in 
this analysis tended to be highly intercorrelated, 
separate univariate logistic regression analyses 
were also performed for each of these. In addition 
to nest site type, the univariate analyses found a 
significant effect of coastal vs inland, defined as 
immediately adjacent to the coast (DD=1 . 77, df= 1 . 
P=0.005 ). This was due to a higher proportion of 
"inland" nest sites having continued occupation or 
new occupation. No other significant effects were 
found (i.e. for coastal vs inland, defined as 
=or< 1 km from the coast. DD=3 .49. df= 1 . P=0.06; 
distance to peregrine eyrie. DD=232. df=l. 
P=0.13: region, DD=3.85. df=2. P=0.15). 



A S Cook, Murray C Grant, Clive R McKay & MA Peacock 
RSPB Scotland, Dunedin House, 25 Ravelston Terrace, Edinburgh EH4 3TP 

Revised manuscript accepted June 2001 




Chough nest, Islay 



M B Withers ARPS 



92 Scottish Birds (200 J ) 22: 92-103 



SB 22(2) 



Diet of Barn Owls in East Ross and East Ness 

H McGHIE 

The diet of Barn Owls was studied between 1993-99; seasonal variation in diet was studied 
at 2 sites in 1999. Field Voles were found to form a greater proportion of the diet than in 
other parts of Britain, with Common Shrew and Wood Mouse as the main alternative prey 
species. Field Voles decreased in the diet through the summer at which time the proportion 
of Common Shrews increased; the proportion of Wood Mice increased through the year. 
Field Voles formed a greater proportion of the diet in agriculturally less intensive areas with 
small areas of rough grassland than in agriculturally intensive areas with large amounts 
of rough grassland. This was taken to indicate that less intensively farmed areas provided 
better hunting for Barn Owls, even where these held smaller areas of rough grassland. Barn 
Owls fed at a higher rate in winter than found in previous studies and this was considered 
to be due to recent mild winters, which may have been responsible for increases in the 
numbers of Barn Owls in the present study area. At one site, the male owl was found to eat 
fewer and smaller Field Voles than the female and young, and to eat more Common Shrews. 



Introduction 

The Bam Owl Tyto alba population in the Inner 
Moray Firth (East Sutherland. Ross and Ness) is 
of special interest as it represents the most northerly 
population in the world of this cosmopolitan 
species (Glue 1976). In spite of the population's 
marginal nature. Barn Owls occur at high density 
locally in Mid Ross and adjacent East Ness 
(McGhie 2000). Barn Owl diet has been well 
studied in Britain (eg Glue 1 974, Love etal 2000), 
although fewer studies have been concerned with 
seasonal variation in diet (Glue 1967, Webster 
1973, Brown 1981, Taylor 1994, Love etal 2000) 
or differences in the diet of the sexes (Taylor 
1994). Pellets from only one Highland site were 
included by Glue ( 1974) and none were included 
by Love et al (2000); there is no published 
information that deals separately with the diet of 
Barn Owls in north Scotland. This paper contains 
the results of analyses of pellets that I collected 
between 1993-99 in Mid Ross and adjacent East 
Ness. 



Methods 

Variable numbers of pellets were collected from 
26 roosts and nest sites in 20 Barn Owl territories 
in Mid Ross and East Ness between 1993-99. A 
total of 66 batches were collected of which 33 
batches were from below nest sites (13 sites), 28 
were from roosts ( 1 1 sites ), 3 were batches of nest 
debris from natural cavities (2 sites) and 2 were 
nest debris from nest boxes (2 sites). Roosts and 
nest sites were in low altitude areas, mainly less 
than 100m above sea level, in mixed farmland 
with abundant wood edges and areas of rough 
grassland. The collections were made during 
searches for, and checks of, sites used by Barn 
Owls between 1993-99 (see McGhie 2000). 
Disturbance was kept to a minimum and birds 
were not flushed from nest or roost sites; collections 
were not made in wet weather in case birds were 
inadvertently flushed. 

Each batch of pellets was dried and the pellets 
dissected individually for the remains of prey in 
the form of vertebrate bones and invertebrate 
exoskeletons. 



Scottish Birds (2001 ) 



Diet of Barn Owl in East Ross and East Ness 93 



For each batch of pellets, the numbers of each 
species of mammalian prey were counted on the 
basis of the minimum number of individuals 
required to contribute the numbers of any of the 
main cranial elements (skull, left and right 
mandibles). Numbers of each species of bird prey 
were counted on the basis of the minimum number 
of individuals required to contribute the numbers 
of long bones, sterna, skulls and pelvic girdles to 
each batch of pellets. The remaining material was 
checked for other bones such as Mole Talpa 
europaea humeri and for those of amphibians and 
reptiles. Invertebrate prey remains were also 
collected but the matrix was not searched for 
earthworm chaetae. The absence of sand and grit 
in pellets indicated that earthworms did not form 
a significant part of the diet, as found in previous 
studies. Mammalian remains were identified with 
reference to published keys ( Lawrence and Brown 
1974; Yalden 1977, 1985); bird remains were 
identified as far as possible by referring to my own 
reference collection, now in Inverness Museum & 
Art Gallery. 

The prey list was based on all batches, representing 
4246 prey items. Studies of diet were based on 35 
batches from 10 sites, all in separate Barn Owl 
territories, which contained more than 40 items 
(see Glue 1964, Love et at 2000). For each site, 
all batches were grouped irrespective of season or 
year of collection (mean prey items per batch= 
108.3, SD= 76.0; median prey items per site= 1 89, 
min= 40, max= 1529, see Love et al 2000). 
Habitat data existed for 8 of these 1 sites (McGhie 
2000), where habitat features were noted onto 
1:25,000 OS maps. The relative importance of 
different prey species was related to the amount of 
rough grassland (ha), wood edge (km) and burn 
and drain (km) within 400m of each site; Barn 
Owls obtain much of their food within this area 
(Cramp 1985, Taylor 1994). The numbers of prey 
were converted to prey weights using the weights 
provided by Yalden ( 1 977 ) in order to analyse the 
relative importance of prey of varying size (Table 



1 ); invertebrates were not assigned weights. 

Pellets were collected on a systematic basis from 
2 sites in separate Barn Owl territories between 
January and November 1999 to investigate 
seasonal changes in diet. All pellets were removed 
from these 2 sites as close to the end of each month 
as other commitments permitted; all monthly 
collections were made between the 25th and 5th of 
the next month. One site, site A, consisted of a 
disused outbuilding which had held breeding Barn 
Owls since at least 1994. Barn Owls failed to 
breed in 1998 as a result of structural changes to 
the building but remained in the area. A nest box 
was erected in April 1999 and this was taken up 
almost immediately. The building was divided 
internally into 6 small compartments that were 
linked above the level of the ceiling, at least by 
owl gaps at the gable. The male owl, as determined 
by direct observation and the extent of barring on 
moulted feathers, roosted in the compartment 
adjacent to that containing the nest box. The 
female owl was only seen to use this compartment 
on 2 occasions over a period of several years. 
Pellets were collected from this compartment at 
the end of each month. These owls had been under 
observation since 1994 and were not considered 
to have been subjected to excessive disturbance; 
on entering the roost compartment the male would 
flit through into the adjacent compartment via the 
owl gap with what appeared to be little stress eg 
little or no calling. Observations on this site were 
begun in 1994 and the owls were known to have 
bred successfully in every year except 1998, so 
this level of disturbance did not appear to have any 
deleterious effects on the owls (see also Taylor 
1991 ). The compartment containing the nest box. 
hereafter referred to as the nest compartment, was 
checked in June to establish whether or not 
breeding was occurring. On finding that it was, 
the compartment was not entered again until 
September, by which time breeding had concluded; 
the debris in the nest box and on the floor of the 
nesting compartment were collected at this time. 



94 



SB 22(2) 



Table 1 Prey contained within pellets 



Species Prey No of sites at which Total no 

weight (g) recorded (n=26) (n=4246) 



Field Vole 


21 


25 


Common Shrew 


8 


22 


Wood Mouse 


18 


21 


Pigmy Shrew 


4 


14 


Water Shrew 


12 


14 


Bank Vole 


L6 


L3 


bird (all species) 


20 


1 1 


Brown Rat 


60 


3 


House Mouse 


12 


3 


Natterer's Bat 


8 


1 


Mole 


70 


1 


Water Vole 


100 


2 


Weasel 


100 


1 


Pipistrelle 


5 


1 


Earwig 




1 


Dor Beetle 




2 


Carabid beetle 




1 


Click Beetle 




1 


Rhinoceros Beetle 




1 


Cream-striped Ladybird 




1 



Pellets in the compartment adjacent to that which 
contained the nest box were assigned to the male 
owl. In the nest compartment, those in the box 
itself were assigned to the female and young 
whilst in the nest, and those on the floor to the 
female, and to the young once they were old 
enough to leave the nest. The second site, site B, 
consisted of a hole in a Beech Fagus sylvatica tree 
that was thought to have been in use for a 
considerable period (10 years?). Pellets were 
collected from beneath the tree and the birds were 
not disturbed in any instance. Breeding was known 
to have been successful in 1 999 from the presence 
of hatched eggshells beneath the nest in June and 
sightings of newly fledged young in September. 
Pellets at site B could not be separated into those 
produced by the adults and young. 



2348 

939 

567 

169 

92 

72 

21 

9 



1 

3 
2 
2 
2 
2 
1 

Seasonal variation in the size of Field Voles i 
Microtus agrestis in the diet was investigated by 
studying seasonal variation in the length of the 
lower jaw, as this was the cranial element most j 
frequently recovered in a complete condition. The I 
incisor was removed and the length from the : 
posterior edge of the tooth socket to the hindmost | 
point of the articulating surface was measured j 
with callipers (see Lockie 1955). Prey content per | 
pellet was calculated on the basis of the number of I 
left jaws in each pellet for rodents and the number | 
of skulls for shrews; rodent skulls were frequently 
fragmentary and therefore parts of the same skull I 
could be found in more than one pellet, while 
shrew skulls were usually found to be complete. 
Only complete pellets were used for this analysis. \ 



Scottish Birds (2001 ) 



Diet of Bam Owl in East Ross and East Ness 95 



Results 
Prey species 

Thirteen species of small mammal were recorded 
in pellets; these included all rodent and shrew 
species, and 2 of the 4 bat species, known to occur 
in the area (Highland Biological Records Centre, 
Table 1): invertebrates constituted a negligible 
proportion of the diet. The remains of a Cream- 
striped Ladybird Mysia oblongo guttata were 
recovered with nest debris although the distasteful 
nature of ladybirds may render them distasteful to 
owls. Excepting Dor Beetles Geotrupes 
stercorarius, all of the invertebrate species 
encountered were associated with buildings 
(Ground Beetles Carabidae and Earwigs 



Forficula) or with old wood (Click Beetles 
Elateridae, Rhinoceros Beetle Sinodendron 
cylindricum) and these were probably taken at 
nest and roost sites. Other features of special 
interest were the widespread distribution of Water 
Shrews Neomys fodiens and the discovery of a 
roost of Natterer's Bats Myotis nattereri. This 
species was formerly considered to be rare in 
north Scotland, but it may have been overlooked 
(Highland Biological Records Centre); its 
inclusion in the diet is of interest as this species 
tends to occur in the same areas as Barn Owls and 
it has previously been recorded as one of the main 
species of bat prey of Barn Owls in Poland (eg 
Ruprecht 1979). A Weasel Mustela nivalis formed 
an unusual prey item. 



Table 2 Relative importance of different prey species ' 



Species No. of sites % of batches Mean(&SD) Mean(&SD) 

(n=10) where present % no at each site % weight at each site 
(n=35) (n=10) 23 (n=10) 24 



Field Vole 


10 


100 


54.4 


(16.2) 


67.9 


(13.6) 


Common Shrew 


10 


100 


22.4 


(9.2) 


11.6 


(6.2) 


Wood Mouse 


10 


94 


13.1 


(7.6) 


14.5 


(9.1) 


Bank Vole 


9 


66 


10.0 


(7.1) 


6.0 


(3.3) 


Water Shrew 


8 


83 










Pigmy Shrew 


10 


57 










Brown Rat 


3 


14 










Birds (all species) 


6 


26 










Mole 


1 


9 










Water Vole 


2 


6 










Weasel 


1 


3 










House Mouse 


2 












Natterer's Bat 


1 


6 










Invertebrates 


3 


17 











1. Based on analyses of batches containing at least 40 prey items 

2. Figures for all species except Field Vole, Common Shrew and Wood Mouse combined 

3. Includes invertebrates 

4. Excludes invertebrates 



96 



SB 22(2) 



Overall diet 

Field Voles dominated the diet at all sites, 
contributing approximately 2/3 to the total prey 
weight at each site (mean 67.9% of prey weight, 
SD=13.6, range= 44.4- 87.5, n=10; Table 2). 
Common Shrews Sorex araneus and Wood Mice 
Apodemus sylvaticus were also important dietary 
constituents, each being present in at least 90% of 
batches and contributing in excess of 10% to the 
prey weight. Bank Voles Clethrionomys glareolus, 
Pigmy Shrews Sorex minutus and Water Shrews 
were recorded at most sites and in most batches 
but made a relatively small contribution to diet; 
Water Shrews were found at a surprisingly high 
proportion of sites. The remaining prey species, 
including birds, were even less important. Bird 
prey species included Wren Troglodytes 
troglodytes, Dunnock Prunella modularise Robin 
Erithacus rubecula, Song Thrush Turdus 
philomelos, Jackdaw Corx'iis monedula. Starling 
Sturnus vulgaris, House Sparrow Passer 
domesticus and finch FringillalCarduelis sp. 
Pellets which mainly consisted of bird prey 
(starlings and sparrows) were found at 2 roosts in 
farms in separate territories in January 1995, 
when heavy snow would have made mammal 
prey unavailable; Barn Owls were probably 
preying opportunistically on roosting birds. A 
predated large nestling Jackdaw was recovered 
from below site B at the same time as a headless 
Wood Mouse and Common Shrew were found 
beneath the tree. The headless mammals were 
probably owl prey brought back for chicks; Barn 
Owls will decapitate prey when feeding young (eg 
Pikula et al 1984). The dead Jackdaw chick and 
the mammals below the tree were thought to 
indicate some animosity between the Jackdaws 
and owls which nested in adjacent cavities. 

There was significant variation in the proportions 
of Field Vole, Common Shrew and prey items 
other than the main 3 prey species between different 
sites, but no significant variation in the proportion 



of Wood Mouse (univariate 2-way ANOVA, 
F,„,=7.16, P<0.05; F 9 ..o= 7.92, P=0.01; F,„,=7.16, 
P<0.05; F<uo=1.20, NS respectively); significant 
variations with month were found for Common 
Shrew but not for Field Vole, Wood Mouse or 
other species (F, m=6.46, P<0.05; F».„,=1.29, 2.42, 
1.29, NS, respectively). One batch of pellets, 
removed from a nest box at the extreme western 
limit of Barn Owl distribution in 1999. contained 
an unusual variety of prey. Whilst the proportion 
by weight of Field Vole and Common Shrew did 
not differ greatly from that found elsewhere (61.8% 
and 22.1% respectively), there was a low 
contribution made by Wood Mouse (3.2%) and a 
high contribution made by Pigmy Shrew (8.6% of 
prey weight, 26.0% of prey number). The deficit 
in Wood Mouse had evidently been made up by 
turning to Pigmy Shrew. The debris was probably 
mainly from the previous breeding season ( 1 998), 
and the owls did not return in 1999. 

Relationships between diet and habitat 

The proportion by number of Wood Mice in the 
diet increased significantly with increasing rough 
grassland; there was a concomitant decrease in the 
proportion made up by Field Voles, although this 
was not statistically significant (Table 3). The ; 
proportion made up by Field Voles increased 
significantly with increasing wood edge and this 
was matched by significant decreases in both I 
Common Shrews and Wood Mice. The proportion 
made up of Field Voles decreased significantly ; 
with increasing length of drain and stream with j 
concomitant significant increases in the 
frequencies of both Common Shrews and Wood j 
Mice. There were no statistically significant 
relationships between habitat and dietary 
proportions of Water Shrews, Pigmy Shrews, i 
Bank Voles, or for all prey other than the main 3 
species combined; these typically formed a small 
proportion of the diet and different species had i 
different habitat associations. 



Scottish Birds (200 J) 



Diet of Bam Owl in East Ross and East Ness 97 



Seasonal changes in diet 

There was no correlation between the numbers of 
pellets collected each month from sites A and B in 
1999 (r=0.12, t= 0.33. 8 degrees of freedom. NS: 
Figs 1,2). The number of pellets collected from 
site B dropped in April and many other pellets 
were found to have been broken up between April 
and July (Fig 2). Jackdaws nested in the same tree 
during these months and were presumed to have 
been responsible for removing and breaking up 
pellets, probably in search of White-shouldered 
Moth Endrosis sarcitrella larvae with which pellets 
were infested. 

Field Voles formed a significantly higher 
proportion of the diet in terms of prey number at 
site B throughout the year whilst Common Shrews 
formed a significantly lower proportion ( one tailed 
paired t tests, 8 degrees of freedom. t= 3.26. 
P<0.01 and t= 3.82, P<0.01 respectively): there 
was no significant difference in the proportion of 
Wood Mice in the diet (t=0.15, NS). At site A. 
other prey, such as Bank Voles, Pigmy Shrews 
and Moles, formed a significantly higher 
proportion of the diet (t= 3.96. P<0.01 ). 

The contribution made by Field Voles to the diet 
of the male owl at site A was significantly lower 
during the breeding season (June-August) than 
during the pre breeding or post breeding periods 



(chi squared= 23.64. 2 degrees of freedom, 
P<0.01). Similarly, the proportion made up of 
Common Shrews was significantly higher during 
the breeding season (chi squared= 38.30, P<0.01 ). 
There were no significant differences in the 
proportions of Field Voles and Common Shrews 
at site B through the year (chi squared= 5.61 and 
2.84 respectively, NS), perhaps because prey 
remains of adults and young could not be separated 
(see below). The proportion of Wood Mice 
increased significantly through the year at both 
sites A and B (chi squared= 8.45. P<0.05 and chi 
squared= 12.76. P<0.01 respectively). The 
proportion of other species in the diet fell through 
the year at both sites A and B. but neither trend 
was significant (chi squared= 3.39. NS and chi 
squared^ 1 .60. NS. respectively); the contribution 
made by other species was small, typically less 
than 1 0% by weight in each month, although there 
was a very distinct peak in August at site A, when 
prey of other species (Water Shrew. Bank Vole, 
Brown Rat Ruttus norvegicus and Moles) 
contributed 16% to the prey weight. There was a 
significant correlation in the proportions of 
Common Shrew at sites A and B (r=0.69, t=2.55, 
7 degrees of freedom, P<0.05 ) but not between the 
proportions of Field Voles, Wood Mice or other 
prey (r= 0.27, 0.03, 0.31, t= 0.75. 0.08, 0.87 
respectively, NS), possibly because prey remains 
from adults and young could not be separated at 
site B (see below). 



Table 3 Variation in proportions of prey numbers in relation to habitat within 400m of sites 



Habitat Spearman rank correlation coefficients (n=8) 

Field Vole Common Shrew Wood Mouse 



Rough grassland (ha) -0.55 0.16 0.65^ 

Wood edge (km) 0.81* -0.76* -0.62 

Burn and drain (km) -0.88** 0.82* 0.80* 



x P=0.05 
* P<0.05 
** P<0.01 



SB 22(2) 



The mean prey content of pellets at the male 
owl's roost at site A. when converted to prey 
weights, increased sharply in June then fell in July 
and August and increased again from September 
onwards (Fig 3). At site B, the mean prey weight 
content of pellets peaked in August to October but 
pellets from these sites could not be separated into 
those produced by the adults or young. This was 
at odds with Glue ( 1967), who found that pellets 
produced during the breeding season contained 
greater prey weights: prey weight contents were 
similar to Glue's figures for January to April and 
July to August, but lower than his figure of lOOg 
per pellet for May to June and higher than his 
figures of 55g and 50g for September to October 
and November to December respectively. 

The number of items per pellet was not as high as 
the figure of 4.6 items per pellet given by Love et 
al (2000) for southern Scotland, peaking at 4.2 
items at site A in July and 3.4 items at site B in 
August. 

At site A, the mean size of Field Voles in pellets 
collected from the male's roost increased in April 
and fell again until August and increased again 
from September (Fig 4); differences were not 
statistically significant however. Juvenile Field 
Voles were recorded from May. 

Differences in diet between the sexes and young 
at site A 

Barn Owls at site A were found to have a clutch of 
5 eggs in June 1999; 4 of these hatched and all 4 
chicks were thought to have fledged when the box 
was again checked in September. There was 
significant variation between the proportions 
which the main prey items formed in remains 
from the male's roost between June and August, 
the nest box and the nest compartment (chi squared 
P<0.01 , Fig 1 , Table 4). Pellets collected from the 
male's roost contained a lower proportion of Field 
Voles than did those from the nest box and a 



higher proportion of Common Shrews than those 
from the nest box and the nest compartment. 
Other species were found at their highest 
proportion in pellets from the male's roost in 
August. The mean length of Field Vole jaws from 
the nest box was significantly longer than that for 
jaws collected from the male's roost during the 
breeding season (2 sample t test, t=3.31, 122 
degrees of freedom, P<0.01 ) and equal to that of 
jaws collected from the male's roost in April; the 
mean length of jaws from beneath the nest box 
was intermediate between that for jaws from 
pellets from the male's roost and from the nest 
box. This was due, firstly, to the greater presence 
in June to August of Field Voles of the lowest size 
classes in the collections from the male's roost. 
Secondly, Field Voles of the largest size classes 
dominated the collections from beneath the nest 
box and, especially, the nest box itself; Field 
Voles of the lower size classes were infrequent in 
collections from the nest box and the nest 
compartment (Fig 5). 

Discussion 

Barn Owls ate a wide variety of prey items but the 
most important were Field Voles, Wood Mice and 
Common Shrews. These 3 species comprised a 
mean 94.0% of the prey weight at each site (SD= 
3.2, n= 10), a higher proportion than that found by 
Love et al (2000) for southern Scotland in 1997 
(79.8%). The percentages of prey numbers made 
up by Field Voles, Common Shrews and Wood 
Mice at each site differed from those of Love et al 
(2000) for southern Scotland (medians^ 45.2, 
35.4 and 1 1.4 respectively, n= 21 ), showing that 
a greater proportion of the diet was made up by 
Field Voles and considerably less was made up of 
Common Shrew (Table 2). This indicates that 
Field Voles figure more heavily in the diet of Barn 
Owls in north Scotland than in any other area of 
Britain while Common Shrews are less frequent. 
The proportions of these 2 species in Barn Owl 
diet were considered to be reciprocally related by 



ntish Birds (2001) 



Diet of Bam Owl in East Ross and East Ness 99 



Figure 1. Seasonal variation in diet at Site A. 
100% 



Z 





□ Others 

□ Wood Mouse 

b Common Shrew 
■ Field Vole 



=. 



Figure 2. Seasonal variation in diet at Site B. 
100% 



5 




□ Others 

□ Wood Mouse 

a Common Shrew 
■ Field Vole 



100 



SB 22(2) 



Love et al (2000), and Common Shrew has been 
found to be the main alternative prey to Field Vole 
in previous studies (Webster 1973. Brown 1981. 
Taylor 1994). The seasonal pattern of Field Vole 
abundance in pellets reflected the documented 
seasonal trend in abundance of Field Voles, which 
decrease through spring to a low in summer and 
increase again in autumn (Tapper 1979, Richards 
1985, Taylor 1994) and was similar to that found 
in previous studies of Barn Owl diet (Webster 
1979, Brown 1981, Taylor 1994, Love et al 
2000). 

The relationships between diet and habitat were 
unexpected, with the proportion of Field Voles 
decreasing with increasing amounts of rough 
grassland, which is the species' main habitat (eg 
Taylor 1994). High proportions of Field Voles 
were found in areas with the highest amounts of 
woodland edge, which were along the less 
intensively farmed slopes of river valleys towards 



the west of the study area. Areas with large 
amounts of rough grassland and drains were among 
intensive farmland along valley floors towards 
the east of the study area, where there are fewer 
small woods. It was previously suggested that 
Barn Owls in the present study area were restricted 
in distribution by suitable nest and roost sites 
rather than by feeding habitat, but that within each 
territory they selected nest sites close to patches of 
rough grassland (McGhie 2000). Barn Owls in 
territories with the highest amounts of woodland 
edge, and the highest proportions of Field Voles 
in their diet, hunted over relatively small patches 
of rough grassland close to their nest sites, while 
those owls in more intensive areas hunted over 
larger areas of marshy grassland. As Field Vole is 
the largest of the 3 main prey species, and therefore 
the most profitable in terms of prey weight per 
successful capture. Barn Owls which hunted in 
areas of lower agricultural intensity hunted more 
successfully in terms of prey weight per capture. 



Figure 3. Seasonal variation in mean prey weight content of pellets at Site A male roost inl999 



So 



100 



90 



2 80 



70 



- 60 



5)1 



40 



30 



20 



■Mean (and SD) prey-weight 
content 




n=ll 


i/i 

ra 

II 

B 


ir, 

II 

s 


in 

rr, 

II 

B 


n=19 


IN 

II 

B 


IS 

II 
s 


3C 
II 

e 


n=26 


n=12 


Feb 


Mar 


Apr 


May 


Jun 


Jul 


Aug 


Sep 


Oct 


Nov 



ntish Birds (2001 ) 



Diet of Barn Owl in East Ross and East Ness 101 



Figure 4. Seasonal variation in the size of Field Vole prey at site A. 



13.5 



12.5 




Barn Owls in more intensively farmed areas preyed 
more on Common Shrew and Wood Mouse, which 
are smaller and therefore less profitable. Thus 
areas which would have been expected to have 
contained more Field Voles within intensive 
farmland were actually less suitable for Barn 
Owls than areas with less intensive agriculture but 
smaller areas of rough grassland. 

The large increase in the size of Field Voles in 
pellets in April was attributed to increased 
predation on large male voles, which behave 
aggressively at this time and thereby raise their 



s 
- 

j 

apparency to hunting owls, thus becoming easier 
for hunting owls to locate (Taylor 1994). The 
smaller proportion of Field Voles in the diet of the 
male owl at site A, and the smaller jaw sizes of 
Field Voles in pellets from that bird, were taken to 
indicate that it was providing the female and 
young with the largest prey items and eating the 
smaller items. Shawyer ( 1 998 ) also found that the 
diet of a male Barn Owl included more Common 
Shrews than that of its partner and young, but 
Taylor (1994) found that there was no difference 
in the size of Field Vole lower jaws in pellets 
produced by the male and female. Variation in 



Table 4 Variation in prey remains collected from the male roost June-August, nest compartment and 
nest box at site A in 1999 



Site Number Percentage of prey number 

of items 

Field Vole Common Shrew Wood Mouse Other 



Nest box 106 55.7 18.9 21.7 3.8 

Nest compartment 92 50.0 19.6 22.8 7.6 

Male roost 379 38.0 36.9 17.9 7.1 

(June-August) 

Chi squared on prey numbers= 23.31, 6 degrees of freedom, P<0.001 
Figures emboldened where ((observed - expected) 2 / expected) > 2.0 



102 



SB 22(2) 



dietary differences between the sexes in these 
studies may be due to differences in absolute 
density and proportions of the main prey species 
present, although this explanation may be 
questioned as the owls in the present study were 
found to have a higher proportion of Field Voles 
in their diet than those in southern Scotland which 
did not show any sex based dietary differences 
during the breeding season. 

Prey weight content of pellets during winter months 
was significantly higherthan found by Glue ( 1 967). 
Barn Owls are known to be especially sensitive to 
hard winters and to have increased over winter 
survival since the 1970s(Percival 1991 (.Increases 
in survival may be partly linked to increases in 
feeding in addition to reduced energy requirements 
in higher winter temperatures. Barn Owls are 
known to have increased in the Inner Moray Firth 
area since the 1990s (McGhie 2000) and this may 
be partly attributable to chnages in the availability 
of food and higher winter temperatures. 



Acknowledgements 

I am grateful to all of the landowners who kindly 
granted me access to their land and to S Moran 
and the late W Sinclair for help and encourage - 
ment. I am also grateful to Dr D Yalden ( University 
of Manchester) for verifying the Natterer*s Bat 
identification, to Dr G Goussarova (University of 
Manchester) for help with statistical analyses, to 
Highland Biological Records Centre for 
information, and to an anonymous referee for 
comments. 

References 

Brown D J 1981. Seasonal variations in the prey of 

some barn owls in Gwynedd. Bird Study 28: 139-146. 

Cramp S (ed) 1985. The Birds of the Western 

Palaearctic, Vol 4. Oxford University Press, Oxford. 

Glue D E 1967. Food of the Barn Owl in England and 

Wales. Bird Study 14: 169-183. 

Glue D E 1974. Food of the Barn Owl in Britain and 

Ireland. Bird Study 21: 200-210. 

Glue D E 1976: Barn Owl. In Sharrock J T R (ed) The 



Figure 5. Field Vole jaw sizes in pellets from the male roost, nest chamber and nest box at site A in 1999 
30 



25 



si, 

5 
= 



2(1 



15 



II) 



It I 




□ Roost n=84 

■ Chamber n=31 

■ Nest box n=40 



11 



12 13 14 15 

Mandible length (mm) 



16 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Diet of Barn Owl in East Ross and East Ness 103 



Atlas of Breeding Birds in Britain and Ireland 196 7-72. 
Poyser, Berkhamsted. 

Lawrence M J and Brown R W 1974. Mammals of 
Britain: Their Tracks, Trails and Signs. Blandtord. 
London. 

Lockie J D 1 955. The breeding habits and food of Short- 
eared Owls after a vole plague. Bird Study 2: 53-69. 
Love R A. Webbon C. Glue D E & Harris S 2000. 
Changes in the food of British Barn Owls (Tyto alba) 
between 1974 and 1997 '. Mammal Review 30: 107-129. 
McGhie H A 2000. Density and habitat associations of 
Barn Owls in East Ross. Scottish Birds 21: 88-97. 
Percival S M 1991. Population trends in British Barn 
Owls- a review of some possible causes. British Wildlife 
2:131-140. 

Pilkula J, Beklova A. Kubik V 1984. The breeding 
biology of Tyto alba. Acta Scientarum Naturalium, 
Academie Scientariwn Bohemoslovaceae Bnw 18: 1- 
53. 

Richards C G J 1 985. The population dynamics of small 
mammals living in set-aside and surrounding semi 
natural and crop land. Journal of Zoology. London 236: 
451-464. 

Henry A McGhie, c/o Nurse 's House, 



Ruprecht A L 1979. Bats Chiroptera as constituents of 
the food of Barn Owls Tyto alba in Poland. Ibis 121: 
489-494. 

Shawyer C 1998. The Barn Owl. Arlequin Press, 
Chelmsford. 

Tapper S 1979. The effect of fluctuating vole numbers 
(Microtus agrestis)on a population of weasels (Mustela 
nivalis) on farmland. Journal of Animal Ecology 48: 
603-617. 

Taylor I 1991. Effects of nest inspections and radio 

tagging on barn owl breeding success. Journal of 

Wildlife Management 55: 312-315. 

Taylor I 1994. Bam Owls: predator-prey relationships 

and conservation . Cambridge University Press, 

Cambridge. 

Webster J A 1973. Seasonal variation in mammal 
contents of barn owl castings. Bird Study 20: 1 85- 1 96. 
Yalden D W 1977. .4 key to the identification of 
mammal remains in owl pellets. Mammal Society. 
Reading. 

Yalden D W 1985. The identification of British bats. 
Mammal Society. Bristol. 

West Road, Muir ofOrd, Ross-shire IV6 7TD 



Revised manuscript accepted July 2001 




Young Barn Owls 



B S Turner 



104 Scottish Birds (2001) 22:104-113 



SB 22(2) 



SHORT NOTES 

Female Eurasian Sparrowhawk 
caching prey 

On 19 December 2000 at about 1045 GMT, a 
female Eurasian Sparrowhawk Accipiter nisus 
killed a Feral Pigeon Columbia livia in a garden in 
central Edinburgh. The hawk was watched by KN 
for some time from a window at a distance of 2.5 
- 3.0 m. After mantling the prey, she plucked at 
the breast for about 5 minutes then, half lifting and 
dragging the pigeon, the hawk moved it 3-4m 
further away and recommenced plucking and 
feeding from it. 

After about an hour, KN, who by this time had 
been joined by KH, obseved the hawk flying with 
the carcase, rising about 3m to the top of a wall, on 
which were some angle iron posts, around which 
platforms of Bindweed Calystegia sp or similar 
had formed. The hawk placed the carcase on one 
of these platforms, and then flew off. 

The next day, at around 1 100 GMT, what was 
presumably the same female hawk was seen 
feeding from what was left of the pigeon's breast 
and legs on the lawn. These remains had still been 
on the wall earlier that morning. The hawk fed 
from the remains for about 45 minutes. At the end 
of this period, the carcase, by this stage little more 
than a pair of wings, was taken by the hawk to a 



different part of the same wall, where it was placed 
between a post and a creeper. The hawk did not 
feed, but loafed and preened in a nearby tree 
before flying off after about 20 minutes. She was 
not seen again. Two days later the carcase had 
gone. 

There is no mention of caching of prey by Eurasian 
Sparrowhawks in BWP Vol2 (1980), but Newton 
(The Sparrowhawk 1986) mentions that the species 
is known to subdue prey larger than it can carry or 
eat in one meal, and in such cases will try to carry 
the prey to a safe caching site for later consumption. 
He also mentions that Eurasian Sparrowhawks 
are regularly robbed of their prey while they are 
with it, or have it removed by avian or mammalian 
scavengers. M Marquiss Scottish Birds 11, 263- 
4 reported seeing a Eurasian Sparrowhawk kill a 
pigeon, feed on it and stand on it for about 20 
minutes before feeding again. This carcase was 
removed overnight probably by a mammal. 
We thank Dr M Marquiss for constructive 
comments on an earlier draft of this note. 

K Needle & K Hint/ens, 5 Brown 's Place, 
Edinburgh EH1 2HX* 
T W Dougall, 62 Leamington Terrace, 
Edinburgh EH10 4JL 
(* correspondence address) 

Revised manuscript accepted April 2001 



Grey Heron predating White-throated 
Dipper 

On 1 4 May 1 999 at 1 3 1 5hrs GMT, in the Moorfoot 
Hills (280m asl) in the Scottish Borders, AM's 
attention was drawn to an adult Grey Heron Ardea 
cinerea standing in the shallows of the Blackhope 
Water, where it flows beside a steep grassy bank 
with extensive patches of rushes Juncus sp. When 



first seen, the Heron was in the process of 
swallowing a White-throated Dipper Cinclus 
cinclus which was wearing a metal ring. The 
heron took less than one minute to swallow the 
Dipper, remaining in the shallows during this 
time. 

Some 5-10 minutes earlier AM had seen a ringed 
juvenile Dipper perched openly by the water's 



Scottish Birds (200 J) 



Short Notes 



105 



edge some 5m away from the site of the above 
incident. The Dipper was occasionally quite 
vocal and appeared to be attempting to solicit food 
by wing shivering, although no adults were seen 
in the vicinity. It seems that the juvenile Dipper 
unwittingly attracted the attention of the heron by 
its behaviour. This juvenile was almost certainly 
one of a brood of 4 Dippers that had been reared 
in a nest about 10m from where the heron stood. 
This brood had been ringed by TD on 27 April 
1999 when the chicks were about 8 days old. 

Neither Birds of the Westeran Palaearctic nor 
Tyler & Ormerod (1994) The Dippers mention 
Grey Herons preying on White-throated Dippers, 
although BWP does state that birds are occasionally 
eaten by Grey Herons. Dr M Marquiss (pers 
comm), who has analysed the diet of Grey Herons 
in the River Tay catchment, found remains of 2 

Eurasian Oystercatcher chick killed by 
sibling 

Roof nesting by Eurasian Oystercatchers 
Haematopus ostralegus is now well established in 
Aberdeen (Duncan et al Scottish Birds 22:1-10). 
On 5 June 2000 1 was called to a primary school in 
the city where 2 Oystercatcher chicks had fallen 
from the roof into an enclosed space within the 
buildings. The space measured c6 x 4m. The 
parents were still feeding the chicks, and as previous 
experience indicated that they should be safe there 
until they could fly, I decided to leave them. Both 
were ringed and their biometrics taken, one chick 
being larger than the other, which is usual. 

I returned 2 weeks later to check on the birds to be 
told that one of the chicks had been found dead on 
8 June. Staff at the school told me that the larger 
chick had denied its smaller sibling any of the food 
brought by the parents and had also repeatedly 
atacked it. The chick was dead 3 days after it was 
ringed and staff removed it and put the larger chick- 
into a garden area where it continued to be fed by 



Dippers in hundreds of pellets analysed for prey 
contents, and the remains of 2 more Dippers in 
hundreds of pellets analysed for prey content and 
the remains of 2 more Dippers in hundreds of 
chicks regurgitates. Two of these 4 Dippers were 
juveniles and 2 were of undetermined age. A 
White-throated Dipper c25 days old, if in good 
condition, would weigh around 50-55g (Dougall 
unpublished, Tyler & Ormerod 1994). 

We are grateful to Mr Ralph Smith, shepherd at 
Blackhopebyre, for his tolerance of, and interest 
in, our activities and Dr M Marquiss forcontructive 
comments on an earlier draft of this note. 

Allan Mee & Tom Dougall c/o 
62 Leamington Terrace, Edinburgh EH 10 4LJ 

Revised manuscript accepted May 2001 

the parents and fledged successfully. It would 
appear that the smaller chick had died of lack of 
food and from wounds inflicted by the other 
chick. I was told that 'it was covered in blood'. In 
broods of more than one chick a hierarchy is 
established based on age and size and the dominant 
chick will demand food first and will attack siblings 
(Cramp S and Simmons KEL 1983. The Birds of 
the Western Palaearctic Volume 3:pp24 & 29); 
hand reared chicks have killed siblings (Heinroth 
and Heinroth in Cramp and Simmons 1983). 
Presumably in the open field situation subordinate 
chicks can avoid or escape attacks but in the 
situation reported here the smaller chick was 
unable to escape. 

I wish to thank Eric Meek for comments on an 
earlier draft of this note. 

Alistair Duncan, 12 Cairncry Avenue, 
Aberdeen, AB16 5DS 

Revised manuscipt accepted May 2001 



706 



SB 22(2) 



Table 1. Eurasian Oystercatcher chick measurements 







Weight! g) 


Wing(g) 


Tarsus(cm) 


Bill(mm) 


Bill+Head(mm) 


ChickA 
ChickB 


229 
169 


105 

too small 


85 
84 


39 
32.9 


74.9 
68.4 



Frequency of prey transfer by Hen 
Harriers during the breeding season 

Despite extensive literature on Hen Harriers Circus 
cyaneus in Britain there are no published 
observations on the frequency of prey transfer 
between males and females during the breeding 
season. Male Hen Harriers act primarily as food 
providers by delivering food to females by an 
aerial transfer or 'food pass' and later both sexes 
pass their prey to their young. Although Balfour 
( 1 962-3. Bird Notes 30: 1 45- 1 53 ) and Watson 
( 1977, The Hen Harrier, Berkhamsted) described 
the transfer of food in Orkney and Galloway, they 
did not mention how often it occurred. 
Between 1965-1998 in west Galloway I recorded 
204 prey transfers by Hen Harriers of which 40 
(20%) were ground passes. In 164 aerial food 
passes, only 2 (n = 146) were dropped by adult 
adult passes (Table 1) and only one (n - 18) was 
dropped in an adult juvenile pass. Of 3 prey items 
that were dropped, one was retrieved by the female; 
after 2 prey were dropped together, one was 
retrieved by the male and one by the female; and 
one was retrieved by a juvenile. On 3 other 
ocasions it was not passed to the female; once the 
incubating female refused to accept it; once the 
female continued nest building; and once the male 
landed the prey at a 'cock's nest' and 'bowed' 7 
times to the female ( see also Dickson 1985, British 
Birds 75: 329-330). 

In comparison, Simmons ( 2000, Harriers of the 
World, Oxford) recorded prey transfers by North 
American Northern Harriers Circus cyaneus 
hudsonius on 320 occasions of which 22% were 
ground passes during a study in Canada; 246 



aerial food transfers were seen of which 1 prey 
items were missed by the female, about the same 
efficiency as Scottish Hen Hariers (Table 1 ). On 
4 occasions it was not passed to their mate beecause 
it was stolen by another female before they could 
reach the intended female. Hamerstrom (1986, 
Harrier, hawk of the marshes, Washington) also 
recorded robber females snatching food from 
males in Wisconsin but found no evidence that 
any robber females had any nests. No evidence 
for this behaviour was obtained during the studies 
of Hen Harriers in west Galloway. 

Table 1. Comparison of efficiency of aerial 
adult to adult food passing of Hen Harrier in 
Galloway and Northern Harrier in Canada 



Species 


Hen 


Northern 


Female mass 


527 


546 


Aerial Transfers 


146 


246 


Number missed 


2 


10 


Efficiency % 


98 


96 


Source This study 


Simmons 2000 



RC Dickson, Lismore. New Luce, Newton 
Stewart, Wigtownshire, DG8 0AJ 

Revised manuscript accepted April2001 

Herring Gull predating chick of Red 
throated Diver 

Cramp & Simmons ( 1 997, The Birds of the Western j 
Palearctic, vol 1 , Oxford) do not mention that the 
young of Red throated Divers Gavai stellata suffer 
direct predation from aerial predators. Bundy 
(1976 Bird Study 23: 249-256; 1978 British Birds 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Short Notes 107 



71: 1 99-208 ) in a study of breeding Red-throated 
Divers in Shetland found that most chicks which 
failed to fledge perished in the first weeks of life 
but the causes of these failures were unknown. 

J On 24 July 1980 at 1030 hrs at a lochan about 1 5 
'' kms from the coast in Strathconon. Highland. I 
watched a Herring Gull Larus argentatus circling 
; above an adult Red-throated Diver and its chick 
which I reckoned to be less than 7 days old. The 
gull hovered and swooped down, easily scooping 
the chick up in its bill from the water surface. It 
landed out of sight behind some heather and 
presumably devoured the chick there. Meanwhile, 
the adult diver swam around, diving repeatedly, 
until the gull flew away. I returned to the lochan 
10 hours later: it was deserted and apparently 
abandoned by the divers. 

Bundy thought that skuas and gulls could have 
been responsible for some chick losses but added 
that few observers have actually witnessed 
predation on divers. Predation by Great Skuas 
Catharacta skua was later confirmed by Furness 
(1981 Ibis 123:534-535) when he found the 
remains of 6 chicks in skua pellets at one Shetland 
colony between 1969-1976. The above gives 
some direct evidence to indicate that Herring 
Gulls too will predate the chicks of Red-throated 
Divers. 

RC Dickson, Lismore, New Luce, Newton 
Stewart, Wigtownshire DG8 OA] 

Revised manuscript accepted April 2001 
Little Gulls feeding in association with auks 

Over the last 10 years Little Gulls Larus minutus 
have occurred at Brora, Sutherland with 
increasingly regularity and for more protracted 
periods. In 2000/0 1 several over wintered there for 
the first time. No unusual feeding habits were 
noted until the morning of 22 March at high tide, 
when 2 first year birds were seen about 200m 



offshore and 100m apart. They were holding 
station in typical fashion, hovering into the 
moderate, onshore easterly breeze and occasionally 
dipping onto the surface of the choppy sea. 

Having often seen Little Gulls tracking back and 
forth over an area of sea, I was puzzled to see, a 
few minutes later, that the 2 birds were in more or 
less the same positions and only then noticed that 
both were a few metres downwind of a swimming 
Common Guillemot Uria aalge. I watched them 
more closely over the next half an hour, during 
which time neither auk was seen to dive. As the 
auks drifted on the current, the gulls kept station 
with them, always just downwind. They were 
frequently dipping to the surface in typical feeding 
fashion and their periods of rest on the surface 
were very brief. After about 15 minutes the more 
distant Little Gull left 'its' Guillemot, flew past 
the nearer bird and took up a new station directly 
opposite my vantage point. To my surprise, there 
was yet another Guillemot just upwind of it, 
suggesting a deliberate strategy. The behaviour 
continued until my departure 15 minutes later. 

Other species on the sea in the general vicinity 
were Red-throated Diver Gavia stellata. Great 
Cormorant Phalacrocorax carbo, European Shag 
Phalacrocorax aristotelis. Common Eider 
Somateria mollissima and Common Goldeneye 
Bucephala clangula but the Little Gulls showed 
no interest in these species. 

I have often seen larger gulls settling on the sea 
close to feeding auks but it is hard to see what 
advantage the Little Gulls could have gained from 
this ratherenergy intensive association with resting 
Guillemots. Perhaps the auks' feet were stirring 
up tiny sub surface food particles which then 
drifted downwind. However, this would not 
explain why Guillemots alone were targetted. 

No similar behaviour was noted until the morning 
of 9 April when, in much calmer conditions, what 
were almost certainly the same 2 immature Little 



108 



SB 22(2) 



Gulls attached themselves to a party of 3 feeding 
Razorbills Alca torda, just off the rivermouth. 
Whilst the Razorbills were on the surface the gulls 
settled close to them but, as soon as the auks dived, 
the gulls took off and tracked their underwater 
movements, dipping down to the surface 
occasionally, presumably to pick up morsels of 
food disturbed by the auks' passage beneath them. 
The auks were travelling up to 30m underwater 
but, on each occasion, they surfaced right next to 
the hovering gulls, so there was no possibility of 
coincidence. The Little Gulls' behaviour 
eventually attracted the attention of several Mew 
Gulls Larus canus, which disrupted proceedings 
for a while, but as soon as the larger gulls moved 
away, the Little Gulls again kept close to the 
Razorbills, both on and below the surface. 

Two days later, in even calmer conditions, there 
was a single immature Little Gull on the sea close 
to a resting Razorbill. The auk commenced feeding 
after about 1 5 minutes, whereupon the gull at first 
tracked its underwater progress, as on the previous 
occasion. On most of the auk's subsequent dives, 
however, the Little Gull waited for it to resurface 
before flying across to settle beside it. An adult 
Kittiwake Rissa tridactyla joined the pair but did 
not seem to distract the Little Gull in the way the 
Mew Gulls had. 

On 15 April, in a fresh, north-westerly offshore 
wind, both immature Little Gulls were persistently 
feeding in similar fashion, one with a Razorbill 
and the other with a Guillemot, some 200m apart. 
On this occasion an adult Little Gull was also 
present, but this was feeding 'normally' with 
Kittiwakes further offshore. There is no reference 
in Birds of the Western Palearctic to Little Gulls 
feeding in association with auks, or with any other 
swimming or diving seabirds, other than terns. 

Alan Vittery 164 West Clyne Brora 
Sutherland KW9 6NH 

Revised manuscript accepted May 2001 



Feeding rates of Scottish Crossbills on 
Sitka Spruce 

On 17 March 2001, I found a group of 4 male 
crossbills feeding on ripe cones on an isolated 
Sitka Spruce in Boblainy Forest, Invernessshire. 
The birds were identified as Scottish Crossbills 
Lo.xia scotica by their diagnostic excitement calls 
(Summers et al, in press). Also within this group 
was a single juvenile crossbill with a crossed bill 
in streaked plumage. It was not possible to identify 
the species of this bird as it only gave juvenile 
"chitoo" calls. Parties of males at this time of year 
are usually feeding incubating females. 

Conditions for viewing were excellent and I was 
able to watch the birds against a cloudless sky at 
distances up to 40 metres; this meant that the 
wings of individual seeds could be seen falling 
after the seeds had been removed by the Crossbills. 
I used this opportunity to gain some information 
on the feeding rate of Scottish Crossbills. 

The adult males used a different feeding technique 
to the juvenile bird. The adult birds hung in an 
upside down position and fed on one or 2 seeds 
from a cone before removing the cones from the 
tree by cutting through the cone stalk. They then 
carried the cone in their bill and landed on one of 
the lateral branches of the tree. This flight was 
normally less than one metre. They held the cone 
with one foot and then fed on it. The birds removed 
seeds along the length of the cone and then turned 
the cone before removing seeds from a different 
axis. The juvenile bird, however, fed in an upside 
down position on the cones in situ. The juvenile 
bird also fed from 2 or 3 cones that were hanging 
side by side from the same position; the adult 
males fed from a single cone at a time. Only very 
occasionally did a male feed continually in an 
inverted position. 

A foraging bird was selected arbitrarily and the 
time for a number of wings to be discarded was 



ottish Birds (2001) 



Short Notes 



109 



recorded on a stop watch to the nearest second. 

The feeding rate was calculated by dividing the 
time by the number of seeds consumed. The adult 
males fed at a faster rate (1.84 seconds/seed, n = 
12, se = 0.08) than that of the juvenile (2.80 
seconds/seed, n = 7, se = 0. 1 7) (t=5.73. P>0.001 ). 
On the one occasion when a male was timed 
feeding in an inverted position he recovered 9 
seeds in 15 seconds (1.67 seconds/seed). The 
dimensions of a sample of 34 cones removed by 
the males were: length 61.9 mm (se = 0.76) and 
stalk width (at point of severance) 4.07 mm (se = 
0.08). 

As the Sitka Spruce cones were ripe some cones 
will have already dropped some seed naturally. 
The preliminary feeding by the males of a few 
seeds before they removed the cones from the tree 
is therefore believed to be a sampling process by 
the males to establish whether the cones held 



sufficient seed to make it worthwhile feeding on 
it. 

The different feeding mechanisms allowed a 
significantly greater intake of seeds by the adult 
birds over that of the juvenile. The bills of juvenile 
crossbills do not become fully crossed until 
between the ages of 6 to 10 weeks (Nethersole- 
Thompson, CrossbiIIs\915) and it is likely that 
this bird was still learning to feed. Also it may be 
that the juvenile bird had not yet learnt to remove 
cones or its bill was not sufficiently strong to cut 
through the cone stalks. 

It is not possible to be certain of the species of the 
juvenile bird, if it was a Scottish Crossbill like the 
adult birds, it would indicate that very early 
breeding had taken place, as Scottish Crossbills 
usually breed from February to May (Nethersole- 
Thompson, 1975). 

D C Jardine, 49 Bellfield Road, North 
Kessock, Inverness, IV 1 3 XX 



Revised manuscript accepted June 2001 




© 2002 Chris Rose 



This limited edition colour print may be ordered from the SOC Office 



110 



SB 22(2) 



Peregrine Falcon predation at 
hirundine roosts 

The significance of the Tay Estuary for the 
westward autumn passage of hirundines was first 
observed by Boase (1918 The Scottish Naturalist: 
109-112). Later, the importance of the Tay 
reedbeds for roosting hirundines was noted by 
McMillan (1979 University of Dundee Honours 
Dissertation ) and Lynch ( 1 984 Tay Ringing Group 
Report 1982-83:28-44). These huge beds of 
Phragmites australis form the largest continuous 
reedbed in the United Kingdom and dominate the 
north shore of the Inner Tay Estuary from 
Kingoodie to Cairnie Pier on the north side, as 
well as Mugdrum Island on the south side. Smaller 
beds are located at intervals on the north bank and 
linear stands extend a short distance along the 
tidal part of the River Earn. 

Small roosts are present when migrating birds 
arrive in early April and continue throughout the 
breeding season and well into October. Numbers 
at the roosts peak between late July and mid 
September. They consist of Sand Martins Riparia 
riparia and Barn Swallows Hirundo rustica. Large 
roosts occur, and through counting roosting 
hirundines is extremely challenging, at peak times 
numbers certainly reach 50,000 and may even 
exceed 100,000. 

Mist netting by the Tay Ringing Group has shown 
that emigrating Swallows from north and north 
east Scotland use the roosts and confirmed that 
many birds subsequently moved south along the 
east coast of England. Lynch ( 1 984 Tay Ringing 
Group Report 1982-83:28-44) also found that 
c90% of the Swallows were juveniles. Further 
analysis led Moyes (1989 Tay Ringing Group 
Report 1987-88:16-25) to speculate that the Tay 
reedbeds are important for almost the entire 
population of juvenile Sand Martins from north of 
the Forth. 



Large numbers of both species often gather in 
conspicuous pre roost assemblies some distance 
from the roost sites. The birds then gather noisily 
above the roost site, forming a wheeling mass 
before descending steeply, flying low over the 
reeds, before perching on a reed stem. Once in the 
roost the birds twitter noisily until silence sudenly 
descends sa darkness approaches. 

In 20 years of observations at roosts the only avian 
predators regularly noted have been Eurasian 
SpaiTowhawks Accipiter nisus and Tawny Owls 
Strix aluco. Although the Eurasian Hobby Falco 
subbuteo is a hirundine predator, it is a scarce 
summer visitor to Scotland, but has been observed 
at the Tay roosts on at least 3 occasions in the last 
10 years. 

On the north bank of the River Earn at Easter 
Rhynd, Bridge of Earn, there is a linear reedbed 
consisting predominately off hragmites australis, 
approximately 1km long and not more than 30m 
in width. Roosting hirundines have used this site 
sporadically for several years but numbers rarely 
exceeded 500 until 5 September 2000 when c3000 
hirundines. mainly Sand Martins, gathered in a 
pre roost assembly about 3km from the roost site. 
The following evening the site was checked and 
over 10,000 birds seen. Also in attendance was a 
first year male Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus. 
The hirundines were high above the roost in a 
noisy pre roost communal display, generally 
oblivious of the Peregine apart from a small group 
of birds which pursued and mobbed it. It flew 
back and forward, slowly generating speed until, 
with wings folded, it went into short acrobatic and 
undulating stoops, seemingly directed at tight 
groups of birds rather than individuals. The tactic 
deployed was a combination of speed and sudden 
directional change. Though the Peregrine made 
several attempted strikes, it was successful at least 
twice, landing on a nearby pylon to quickly 
consume its prey. 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



Short Notes 1 1 1 



On 11 and 13 September 15.000 Swallows and 
Sand Martins in approximately equal numbers 
were at the roost. On each occasion 3 Peregrines 
were present, 2 males and a female, all thought to 
be young birds. The female did not attempt to 
catch prey, spending much of the time sitting on 
nearby pylons. One of the males was more 
proficient than the other, taking at least 4 hirundines 
over a 15 minute period. On each evening there 
was an aggressive interaction between the 2 males. 
The more successful hunter was the aggressor. He 
chased the other male from the vicinity before 
returning for a further foray over the area. 

Despite the presence of up to 3 predators there was 
relatively little alaming by the hirundines. implying 
that a Peregrine was not perceived as a threat. The 
hirundines' response was therefore quite different 
from when a Hobby or Sparrowhawk is present, 
when there tends to be widespread alarming and 
dispersal from the immediate vicinity. Although 
other suitable roosts were available the hirundines 
continued to use the roost until early October. 

D Robertson (pers comm. ) has observed a Peregrine 
at the hirundine roost at St Margaret's Marsh. 
Rosyth, Fife in each of the last 3 years. However, 
although the Peregrine took an interest in the pre 
roost assembly of birds and made several half 
hearted passes, none were successful. 

In an analysis of prey taken by British Peregrines, 
Ratcliffe (1993 The Peregrine, London) includes 
Sand Martin and Swallow as well as House Martin 
Delicon urbica in a large range of passerine prey 
species. Ratcliffe acknowledges that considerable 
agility is required to catch hirundines and that only 
the smaller males are likely to be successful. 
However, it appears that this is the first occasion 
that the systematic predation of a large hirundine 
roost by Peregrines has been recorded. 

R L McMillan 

Feltmarn, Bridge of Earn, Perth PH2 9 AN 

Revised manuscript accepted June 2001 



Large winter gathering of auks in the 
Firth of Forth 

On 2 January 2001 I was walking on the north 
shoreline of the Forth to the east of Rosyth. I 
noticed auks out in the middle of the estuary with 
more birds in the river off Rosyth harbour. 
Previously I had found that any significant number 
of auks west of the Forth bridges is usually linked 
to birds starving due to adverse weather at sea. 
About halfway to Rosyth harbour, I saw a huge 
number of auks stretching from mid river into the 
harbour. All were very active diving, swimming, 
chasing and occasionally flying off down the 
estuary towards the bridges. All looked in good 
health and seemed to be feeding vigorously. I 
counted in blocks of 100 as far sa I could see with 
my telescope into the area of greatest density 
within Rosyth dock and found over 5000 birds. I 
then assessed the total flock in relation to the 
section I had been able to block count and reckoned 
it must be at least twice as many. I then recounted 
and reached an estimate of over 9000 birds, 
probably over 10.000. 

The vast majority were Common Guillemots Uria 
aalge, though a few small parties of Razorbills 
Alca torda were identified among the closer birds, 
and a number of Great Cormorants Phalacrocorax 
carbo were feeding among the auks. My impression 
was of a feeeding flock concentrating on a very 
confined food source, recalling the days when 
Sprats Clupea sprattus were plentiful in the Forth. 
A closer approach at Rosyth Docks was prevented 
by the security measures in force there. A security 
guard had seen 'far more birds a week or 10 days 
ago' and 'gulls so thick on the water inside the 
harbour that it was quite white with them". I was 
able to get access briefly to the harbour edge and 
confirm that in the very densely packed area 
within the harbour 99% of the birds were 
Guillemots with only one party of 3 Razorbills 
identified. No birds were seen swallowing prey at 
the surface, but diving activity was continuous 



112 



SB 22(2) 



which suggested to me that the prey was small and 
swallowed underwater. It is unfortunate that 
close observation of this kind is so restricted and 
that watching from the more accessible south 
shore of the estuary is too distant for accurate 
counting. 

I was able to visit Rosyth again on 14 January 
when the situation was much the same but with 
much reduced numbers. RSPB staff from Vane 
Farm were given a guided tour of the dock area in 
a dockyard police launch on 1 1 January when they 
estimated the total population of auks as around 
60,000 - though accurate counting from a moving 
boat was impossible. There were newspaper 
reports in the summer of 2001 of thousands of 
dead Sprats washed up in the Rosyth Dock area 
causing a nuisance from the smell of rotting fish. 
Nobody yet seems clear why the fish in summer or 
their predators in winter should have been so 
concentrated into the man made environment of 
the docks. 

Christopher Mylne 
Mains House,MainRoad,Linlithgow EH49 6QA 

Revised manuscript accepted October 2001 

Common Quail heard on north east 
Scottish farmland in 1988-2001 

I heard the 3 syllable song of many Common Quail 
Coturnix cotumix in daylight while studying Corn 
Buntings Miliaria calandra in the shires of Angus, 
Kincardine, Aberdeen and Banff. 

My effort was similar each year, save in 1 988 when 
I began only in August. I heard calls from Lunan 
Bay to Duncanstone at 200 m and 39 km inland 
nearlnsch (areas 1, 2, 5, 7, 9, 12, 13 and 16 in Fig 
1 of A Watson & S Rae 1997, in The Ecology and 
Conservation of Corn Buntings Miliaria calandra, 
JNCC), and at Crathes, Craigston near Turriff, and 
Rothmaise near Insch. Most were at Barras near 
Stonehaven, Duncanstone and Rothmaise. 



I heard calling at each site for over a month, except 
at Kinellar in 2 years when I heard it only 2 nights 
running, and in 200 1 when I heard it near Rothmaise 
on only one day. A Barras man while harvesting 
saw one fly out on 19 September. 

Spring barley was the main crop used (Table 1 ), as 
in the 1989 Quail influx (R D Murray, 1991, 
Scottish Bird Report 22, 47). Some sang in an 
autum sown crop, but after cutting of it I heard song 
in a spring crop in the next field, where I had heard 
none before the cutting. This suggested movement 
after cutting. 

In areas where I heard more than one bird in a day, 
song sites tended to be clustered, as noted elsewhere 
(D Gill 1992, NE Scotland Bird Report 19-22, and 
R D Murray et al 1 998, SE Scotland Tetrad Atlas). 
Avoiding bare ground or crops under 30 cm high, 
most birds sang in crops with many weeds. Where 
weeds abounded only in patches, birds usually 
sang there, from as small a patch as 10 x 10 m. I 
noted an association with soil wetness, where the 
Soil Survey of Scotland mapped gley soils. Prone 
to waterlogging, they supported many weeds and 
sparse crops. 

I thank I Francis and R D Murray for useful 
comments. 

Adam Watson, 
Centre for Ecology & Hydrology, 
Banchory, AB31 4BW 

Revised manuscript accepted June 2001 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



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114 



SB 22(2) 



OBITUARIES 



Dick Roxburgh 
1920 - 2001 

On 8 June 1920 Richard Folley Roxburgh was 
born into the small mining and mill community of 
Catrine, in Ayrshire. There he grew up and 
developed his great love of the outdoors and its 
wildlife in Catrine's woods, the braes of 
Ballochmyle and Airds Moss, amongst other 
hallowed places. Given this background and 
Dick's keen desire and capacity for learning, it 
was perhaps natural that he should extend his 
interest to Scots poetry, covenanting and other 
regional history. Regarding communal celebration 
of these interests, however, Dick laconically 
remarked that he could have 'a nicht wi Burns any 
time' , here referring to the fact that in 1 944 he had 
married Martha Burns, an Auchinleck lass and 
eventual mother of their 2 sons, Brian and Eric. 

Although they set up home at first in Auchinleck. 
Dick served his time as a bricklayer, later taking 
his trade into the mines at Sorn. He took early 
retirement from mining and for many years he and 
Matt kept the paper shop and general store in 
Catrine. where they were much valued and 
respected by the local community. 

However, it was Dick's passion for ornithology 
that endeared him to a much wider community, 
comprising birdwatchers, ecologists, landowners, 
farmers, herds and, yes, even a very few 
gamekeepers. His knowledge of birds, initially 
kindled at home, flourished on Islay during the 
war and finally blossomed in the hills of Muirkirk. 
New Cumnock, Nithsdale and his beloved 
Galloway. From the 1970s onwards, Dick came 
to know these hills better than anyone else alive. 
In this respect his knowledge was encyclopaedic, 
his spring and summer excursions being 
augmented by endless winter hours of pouring 



over maps and old books of the region. It is no 
exaggeration to say that he knew just about every 
hill and burn by name, repute and experience; but 
moreover, he also knew their birds. Hill birds, 
especially raptors, were his passion and in 
association with Charles Park. Derek Ratcliffe, 
Donald Watson and others, he charted the pesticide 
'crashes' in their populations of the 1960s and 
early '70s, making a great contribution to our 
knowledge of distribution, abundance and 
productivity of Peregrines in particular. In 1971, 
1981 and 1991, he was regional coordinator for 
the south west in the respective national Peregrine 
surveys, which confirmed that these birds were 
well and truly on their way back, despite their 
continuing persecution on grouse moors. 

Throughout the 1980s and early '90s, Dick was 
indefatigable in his relentless pursuit of breeding 
information on Peregrine, Golden Eagle, Merlin 
and Hen Harrier. His field craft was self taught 
and he developed an uncanny intuition regarding 
the behaviour of Peregrines. During the breeding 
season he would spend virtually every half decent 
day (and many stinkers) on the hill and he 
demonstrated incredible persistence in tracking 
down elusive breeding pairs. This regularity 
allowed him to become widely known to hill folk 
as Dick the birdman, often bearing rare 
confectionary treats for the weans. Essentially a 
very quiet and private man, he was also good 
natured and excellent company on the hill, if a bit 
difficult to keep up with at times! He never used 
a word when a look would suffice, and his subtle, 
old school humour, derived from his years in and 
around the mines, brought smiles to many - often 
long after the event! 

On a visit to an apparently unoccupied eagle site 
with a student from Glasgow University, the 
young man asked him if he thought that the eagle 
would have seen them. 'See you' replied Dick, 'it 
would see you leaving Anderston Cross!' On 
another occasion he was met by a peer who 
introduced himself simply by his family title. 



Scottish Birds (2001 ) 



115 



I Without a hint of cheek or irony, Dick replied: 
'pleased to meet you, Roxburgh.' Of Galloway's 
many and treacherous peaty sheughs or lanes, he 
would urge caution and perceptively point out 
that they were 'deep enough to droon ye 3 times 

1 ower.' One ofmy earliest and favourite 'Dickisms', 
and they were legion, emerged as Dick watched 

i' me as I rather self consciously removed a tiny 
something from my boot, which had been giving 

i me added difficulty in keeping up with the great 
man. Through a savoured mouthful of his piece 
(doubtless containing Matt's celebrated rhubarb 
and ginger jam) Dick observed 'aye, it's jist like 

' yer e'e, there's only room fur it.' However, he 

I was only half joking when he christened a close 
friend 'Philby' for doing some work on waders 
when there were raptor nests to be found. 

And so it was that Dick's humour, gentle passion. 

' love for and knowledge of his subject won him 
admiration throughout the 'bird world'. Although 
many would be followers fell short of his 
demanding standards, a band of dedicated raptor 
fieldworkers were inspired and developed under 

■ and eventually beyond his guidance to become 
the raptor study groups of south west Scotland, of 
which he was to become Honorary President. 
Indeed, in partnership with Dave Dick of the 
RSPB, Dick was instrumental in creating the 
Scottish Raptor Study Group movement. 

A long standing member of the SOC, his 
outstanding contribution to ornithology was 

( recognised by the RSPB in 1992. when he made 
a rare visit to London to receive their President' s 
Award. On a golden autumn day in the hills 
behind Loch Doon, Dick remarked 'sit me here 

( wi' a soda scone, a flask o' tea, a pair o' binoculars 
and I widnae ca' the queen ma auntie." For many, 

! Dick's spirit will live long in these and other such 
places, along with the birds that he loved so 
dearly. He died on 12 April 2001 and is survived 
by Martha and their 2 sons. 

Chris Rollie 



A W Colling 
1917 - 2001 

There are probably few conservationists today 
who appreciate the debt owed to Tony Colling 
for the relative security which our countryside 
and wildlife, particularly birds, presently enjoy. 

After graduating in zoology from Newcastle, 
Tony worked for 15 years as an entomologist in 
a number of academic and advisory capacities 
before taking up the post of Conservation Officer 
with the then Nature Conservancy in Bangor in 
1956 where his major task, among many, was the 
administration and management of NNRs. This 
dramatic switch from aphids and carrot flies to 
conservation was to occupy the rest of his working 
life and these early years provided him with the 
skills and experience which served him and the 
Conservancy so well later on - liaising with local 
and central government on rural issues, 
formulating conservation policy and setting up 
SSSIs. 

In 1962 he moved to NC's London HQ to fill a 
new post providing scientific and technical advice 
on conservation to the director, Max Nicholson. 
For a number of years he was a major player in 
the series of conferences, chaired by the Duke of 
Edinburgh and which culminated in The 
Countryside in 1970. In this major document on 
countryside management, Tony was perhaps one 
of the first to address the concepts and processes 
which are so familiar in conservation today, 
notably the procedure of Environmental Impact 
Analysis. This was not a high profile or 
particularly glamorous job, being in the engine 
room of conservation rather than on the bridge, 
but it required not only an in depth knowledge of 
wildlife and its diverse needs, but considerable 
expertise regarding the legal and political 
frameworks in which legislation was to be 
structured and, not least, a patient reserve when 
dealing with conflicting interests. Bridging the 
gulfs of suspicion and distrust which so often 



116 



SB 22(2) 



divided those with seemingly irreconcilable 
differences - conservationists vs wildfowlers, 
farmers and the like, was something at which he 
quietly excelled. 

A move to the NC's Edinburgh office in Hope 
Terrace in 1966 brought him onto the Scottish 
scene as head of the Ornithological Advisory 
Service and Licensing Section. Amongst many 
other responsibilities, this involved the provision, 
in house and for outside bodies, of scientific and 
legal advice on bird protection under the 
Protection of Birds Acts 1 954-67, the formulation 
of bylaws for the conservation of birds and their 
habitats, and methods of safeguarding rare birds. 
Those who were granted permission to 
photograph or ring Schedule I birds at the nest in 
those days will remember his signature at the 
bottom of their licence. He also maintained close 
liaison with other governmental departments and 
NGOs on matters of joint interest affecting birds, 
deer, Badgers and predators. His activities also 
extended into Europe where he advised on the 
drafting of legislation concerning wetlands 
(IUCN) and birds of prey (ICBP as was) and, 
most importantly, worked in Brussels for the 
drafting of the EEC Directive on Bird 
Conservation. 

In all his work, Tony was dedicated, industrious, 
fair and always meticulously prepared. His 
dealings with BASC (WAGBI as was) were so 
valued that he was awarded an honorary life 
membership, although he was not a shooter 
himself. He served on over 20 committees, 
including the Rare Breeding Birds Panel, the 
Secretary of State's Advisory Committee on the 
Protection of Birds for Scotland, MAFF's Land 
Pests and Birds Committee, and Northern 
Ireland's Wild Birds Advisory Committee. 

Tony's was a refreshingly pragmatic approach to 
conservation. He appreciated, probably well 
before his time, that the "preservationist's" ideal 
world was at best unrealistic and at worst 
undesirable, and that many disparate parties had 



an equally defensible stake in and claim to the 
countryside and its wildlife. He welcomed the 
rise in public interest in and support for 
conservation which blossomed in the 1960s, but 
remained concerned that the scientific objectivity 
essential for appropriate and effective 
conservation measures was being overshadowed 
by, as he put it, "a trend. ..towards a more 
subjective and emotional attitude in arguing the 
practical, political and biological issues where 
confrontation arises." He noted how the 
enthusiasm of unaccountable individuals often 
outran objectivity, and antagonism with farmers, 
foresters and other landowners was the 
unfortunate conclusion which ultimately 
benefited no one, and certainly not wildlife, and 
often led to embarrassing and counter productive 
affrays between established, representative 
conservation organisations and their perceived 
antagonists. 

My own memories of Tony are as a patient, 
helpful and friendly boss at Hope Terrace and, 
years later when both of us were older and at least 
one of us wiser, of visits during his happy 
retirement to his cottage in the countryside near 
Dunbar. Here he delighted in his surroundings 
and local wildlife, particularly birds. His 
encyclopaedic knowledge of the birds of his 
"patch" was probably matched only by their 
understanding of him - they knew when the food 
was going to be put out, which of the numerous 
nestboxes and other artificial nest sites was 
tailored for their needs, and that any cat which 
came within their and Tony's territory would be 
at the receiving end of a well directed clay pellet 
from his catapult! Tony eagerly awaited the 
spring arrival of the Grey Wagtails back to their 
nest site on his garage, and many other birds, 
from Tawny Owls to Treecreepers, benefited 1 
from his imaginative construction and siting of 
nestboxes. 

When not watching birds or building nestboxes, 
Tony was a highly accomplished classical and j 



ittish Birds (2001) 



117 



jazz guitarist. He also ran a rest home for old 
radios, which he would rescue from junk shops, 
or even rubbish dumps, and then painstakingly 
restore to working order, was a voracious reader 
of science (fact and fiction), and worked hard in 
his beautiful and productive garden. He was a 
very keen angler and served on the Scottish 
Committee of the Salmon and Trout Association. 
His favourite holiday, twice a year, was a fishing 
trip to the Deveron during the Sea Trout run. All 
these activities were shared with and enjoyed by 
his devoted partner Nancy Gordon, herself a 
prominent conservationist and member of the 
Hope Terrace team, for 35 years. To her and his 
daughters Margaret and Jane, we extend our 
sympathy. Conservation, too, has lost a stalwart 
friend and innovator. 

Mike Fraser 

Robert Wood Jackson Smith 
1922-2001 

It was on 11 December 1949 that Bob Smith's name 
first appears in my diary. We had evidently met 
shortly before, but this was the day on which we 
found ourselves, quite by chance, on the same bus 
bound for Peebles on a day of glorious winter 
weather. We went on to spend it together, walking 
up from the Peebles road to Portmore Loch and then 
up to and round Gladhouse Reservoir and back 
down again to the Peebles road, by which time we 
were in total darkness. We saw many good birds, 
and Bob left me with the indelible memory of his 
field skills; his enthusiasm, his inexhaustible good 
humour, and his striding prowess - from which it 
took me several days to recover. 

It turned out that we had both decided, quite 
separately, that Gladhouse. with its unspoilt 
remoteness, made it the ideal patch for us to adopt 
for weekly visits. Moreover, we would have it 
more or less to ourselves, for no one else seemed 
to want it - perhaps influenced by the dismissive 
comments by the 'Good Ladies' 



'Gladhouse, on which a certain number of birds 
nest, although we do not consider it one of the 
best'. A Vertebrate Fauna of Forth, 1935: xviii 

Bob and I quickly got onto a totally harmonious 
working relationship, which developed into our 
doing complete weekly counts of all 4 Moorfoot 
Reservoirs, each of us taking alternate weekends. 
With characteristic devotion. Bob continued 
making these counts, latterly in association with 
Lance Vick. for more than 20 years after I pulled 
out in 1970. 

And we had our rewards. I still have a letter from 
Miss Evelyn Baxter, dated 8 September 1955 in 
which she says, i tender a profound apology to 
Gladhouse for calling it - not one of the best for 
birds - please notify this to the loch. It was ages 
since I had been at Gladhouse and I had forgotten 
how very attractive it is.' This was after she had 
been taken up to Gladhouse. at the age of 76, to see 
Scotland's first White-rumped Sandpiper! 

For about 40 years Bob also maintained regular 
visits to the Tyninghame estuary. Unlike most 
of his contemporaries emerging from the 
Second World War. in which he saw active 
service with the Royal Engineers in Europe. 
India and Japan, his interest was not confined 
to birds. He remained a very active member of 
the Edinburgh Natural History Society, and it 
was from that base that some 40 years ago he 
initiated a series of annual counts of the seabirds 
breeding on the inner islands of the Firth of 
Forth. These are still being continued today 
under a different organisation. He seldom 
missed the regular meetings of the Discussion 
Group of the local branch of the Scottish 
Ornithologists' Club - the forum where field 
workers discuss and arrange volunteer coverage 
in their area for the many surveys organised by the 
various national bodies. He early became a ringer 
and a trainer in bird ringing, and at the SOC 
headquarters both he and Betty were for many 



118 



SB 22(2) 




Bob Smith Dougal Andrew 

years members of the invaluable team that could 
always be relied on to provide volunteer help in 
matters of mundane administration. 

Bob was also an adventurous foreign traveller. He 
was with Ian Pennie's party in Spitsbergen in 
1955, and was one of those fortunate enough to 
get out to St Kilda in 1 956 - the last year before the 
Army arrived to reoccupy the island for the first 
time since its evacuation in 1930. In later years he 
found his way to the Galapagos Islands, a dream 
come true for one steeped in Darwinism since his 
childhood, and also to many other foreign parts, 
including the rain forests of Ecuador and Gambia, 
where his expertise in catching dragonflies enabled 
him to bring back much material welcomed by the 
Royal Museum of Scotland. 



It was his future wife, Betty Gall, who had 
introduced Bob to the potential of dragonflies as 
a field of study where there was still scope for the 
amateur to make a real professional contribution. 
In recent years this occupied more and more of 
their attention, and they came to be recognised as 
the leading authorities on Scottish dragonflies. 
He took immense pleasure in doing productive 
work for conservation and, especially in his years 
of retirement, he devoted much time to planning 
and physically carrying out work on the reserves 
of the Scottish Wildlife Trust. A joiner by trade, 
and in every respect a craftsman, his expertise was 
invaluable and was given with characteristic 
enthusiasm. Most appropriately, his fellow 
workers at the Woodhall Dean Reserve in East 
Lothian have installed a seat there in recognition 
of his outstanding contribution to the restoration 
and extension of the old oak woodland at the 
reserve. 

Bob was born at Shotts in Lanarkshire. From 
early childhood he had been a keen bird watcher. 
When he was about 20, his parents moved to the 
Edinburgh area and settled in the house at Loanhead 
where Bob was still living at the time of his death. 
He was a man to remember. He was tall, with a big 
rugged face which, in repose, gave little indication 
of the quality of personality behind it. But it was 
never long before the face broke into a grin of total 
enjoyment. He was blessed with a very clear 
mind, based upon massive common sense. He 
was very widely read. He was deeply into classical 
music: in 1949 he was already enthusing about a 
Russian composer by the name of Shostakovich! 
And when, on a crossing of the North Sea I rashly 
challenged him to a game of chess, I was swiftly 
put in my place! He was always the most excellent 
company, with an irrepressible sense of humour, j 
and never better than when conditions were at 
their worst. 

In our early years at Gladhouse, when we were | 
plainly unwelcome to the somewhat morose ; 
reservoir keeper and at a time when the water level I 



ntish Birds (2001 ) 



119 



was low, I caused great offence by walking down 
to the water's edge. I seriously feared that our 
permit might be rescinded. My morale was 
instantly restored when Bob's next letter stalled, 
"Oh dear. I hear you've been messing up the 
gentleman's nice clean mud!" 

Others. I am sure, will have similar cherished 
memories - most especially Betty, ever suppoiti ve 
at home and in the field, and their daughter Mandy . 

Dougal G Andrew 

L A Urquart 
1910-2001 

Louis Urquart grew up in Glasgow and remained 
all his life a West of Scotland man. Until his 
retirement in 1970. he worked in the Royal Bank 
of Scotland, except for his war service in the 
RAOC, which took him to Italy. In his young days 
he was a keen and good golfer. He did not enjoy 
city life and escaped to the countryside whenever 
possible, becoming an expert trout fisherman. 
Long before I first met him and his wife, Kathleen, 
in Dairy in 1953. he had published short notes on 
birds, mostly in the Clyde area. Louis and Kathleen 
started to spend holidays in Kirkcudbrightshire 
soon after the war. We achieved a rapport on our 
first meeting. His name may not be a household 
one among birdwatchers throughout the land, but 
I quickly discovered that he was among the most 
dedicated and perceptive ornithologists I had met. 
He was a reserved man but his quiet sense of 
humour was never far from the surf ace to those of 
us who came to know him well. Our friendship led 
to countless memorable days in the field where he 
proved the ideal companion. On retirement in 
1970 Louis and Kathleen came to live in a 
bungalow just across the street from us. He had 
long been an admirer of Professor Meiklejohn's 
(MFMM's) Saturday articles in the Glasgow 
Herald and had a courteous reply when he wrote 
to him about discovering the first Scottish Buff- 
breasted Sandpiper near Glasgow. 



MFMM acknowledged that his directions on 
where to find the bird were perfect. 

Louis' knowledge of the natural world went 
beyond birds. Fish and amphibians were special: 
every year he would come to find out if there was 
frogspawn in our pond before the end of February. 
In March, he usually found his first Northern 
Wheatear a mile from the village before the end of 
the month. In the autumn he would pick up the 
first Redwings from heating their calls as they 
passed above his house at night. He drove down 
to Loch Ken in search of geese, especially the 
flock of Greenland White-fronts. Everything was 
noted in his voluminous diaries, neatly written in 
copper plate hand. After his death. I was able to 
read some of these, including a full page on his 
discovery of an American Bittern at Loch Ken. 
Sadly, his record was not accepted by the pundits 
but I didn't doubt that he was right. He had 
consulted every book to check against the details 
of what he had seen. 

It might seem surprising, for a keen fisherman, 
that his favourite bird was the Goosander. He 
identified with it as a competitor, deploring the 
persecution it receiv ed from many fishermen. As 
the nesting season approached Louis visited all the 
sites he knew and followed their success or failure. 
In his special Goosander diaries there is a history 
of all the nests he visited in the Glenkens. I 
sometimes went with him and it was always 
rewarding to see a nest in which the ducklings had 
just hatched or later to see them following the duck 
on the water, often climbing on to her back as she 
forged ahead. Most of the nests were in hollow 
trees and as long as he was able Louis visited sites 
in the winter to clean them up or repair them when 
necessary. 

Until Kathleen died in 1978, the Urquarts spent 
many holidays on Scottish islands, including 
Shetland. Skye, Islay. Mull and Arran. At least 
once they went to Cley in Norfolk. Living on his 
own for over 20 years he became remarkably self 



120 



SB 22(2) 



sufficient, priding himself on his cooking. In 
1980 he came with my wife Joan and myself to 
Andalusia and, in 1982, to Mallorca. He much 
enjoyed these trips but would not go abroad again, 
fearing he would be too far from home if he 
became ill. Twice he joined a party on the Isle of 
May but he did not enjoy it as much as I hoped. 

Probably the most memorable days I spent with 
Louis were following the fortunes of nesting Hen 
Harriers and Merlins in the Galloway hills, and 
once finding a Eurasian Dotterel with chicks on a 
high top. 

Major Alastair Peirse-Duncombe 
1923-2001 

In the year 1969 the SOC was faced with the first 
major problem in its history - the replacement of 
the Waterstons. George had been the moving spirit 
behind the founding of the Club in 1936, and had 
been its Secretary from then until 1959, when 
Irene naturally and seamlessly took over his place. 
But now it was Irene' s turn to retire. Both had been 
pioneering ornithologists of their generation. This 
was the end of an era. How could they be adequately 
replaced? 

Of the candidates interviewed for the post, one 
was clearly outstanding in terms of personality 
and evident ability. But he confessed to the fact 
that, although he had been interested in birds, he 
could claim no expertise in that subject. The 
decision to overlook this defect proved to be one 
of the wisest ever made on behalf of the Club. In 
no time at all Major Alastair Wilson ( he was then 
in the process of adopting the maternal family 
surname of Peirse-Duncombe ) had taken over 
the Club as his own very personal concern, and 
the members quickly came to regard him as a 
very real personal friend. In this respect it was 
enormously important that he and his wife Daphne 
instantly established a close rapport with the 
outgoing Waterstons. 



For many years he was my companion at roost 
watches of Hen Harriers in lonely places where 
weather conditions on winter evenings could be 
almost insufferable. He was a great reader. No 
author could quite compete with Dickens for him, 
but he read widely, including such naturalists as 
Abel Chapman and Seton Gordon. 

His remarkable set of diaries have been lodged in 
the SOC archives. 



Donald Watson 



Alastair was bom in Perth, the son of a Regular 
Army officer in the Black Watch, and he was 
educated locally atGlenalmond. In 1942 he enrolled 
with the Royal Artillery; was duly commissioned; 
saw active service in France and Germany in 1 944- 
45; served thereafter briefly in India; established a 
wholly happy marriage with Daphne in 1 953; and in 
1961 suffered the fate of so many Army officers in 
having to find a second career while still in middle 
age. For the next 8 years he filled a business post in 
Glasgow, and no doubt filled it very well. But he 
found it uncongenial, and so it most happily came 
about that he responded to the advertisement for the 
post of Secretary of the SOC. 

When the Waterstons moved out to Humbie in 
1973, the Peirse -Duncombes replaced them in 
the "house above the shop" at 2 1 Regent Terrace, 
where their easy hospitality epitomised their total 
integration with the Club. This will be j 
remembered by many as the golden period in the j 
Club's history of good companionship. For one [ 
of Alastair' s greatest assets was a genuine and i 
spontaneous interest in people, and it was 
impossible not to respond to his enthusiasm. 

By nature conscientious and efficient, these 
qualities had been shaipened by his Army training, 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



121 



and the SOC enjoyed real quality control while 
he was at the helm. 

In his 50s Alastair had received warnings of heart 
problems, and he elected to retire in 1983. when 
he and Daphne moved down to Gattonside, near 
Melrose. Most deservedly, they were then both 
elected Life Members of the Club. 
Characteristically, he responded to an emergency 
situation and came back as Acting Secretary of 
the Club in 1 988/89, and he continued to serve as 
a Council member for the next 5 years. For 6 
years from 1977 he had also taken on board the 
responsibility for running the Fair Isle Bird 
Observatory Trust. 

Also characteristically, he became fully involved in 
local affairs at Gattonside, and it was in just such a 
cause that, disregarding medical advice to take 
things easy, he set off on his last walk up the steep 
slope above his house and suffered a fatal heart 
attack. The crowd that packed the large local church 
where his funeral service was held testified to the 
esteem in which he was held in this last phase of his 
varied, but unvaryingly constructive, life. 

Alastair is survived by his wife Daphne, who 
members will remember as having been so totally 
supportive of her husband during those years 
with the SOC, and by their children : Sue, Peter 
and Richard. Happily, Alastair has left behind 
his own personal envoi to the SOC (Scottish 
Birds 13:1) 

Happier still for us is what Daphne wrote to me 
after his death, 'But you know when talking of 
the SOC it works both ways. How fortunate 
Alastair was to be taken on as Secretary by 
George and Irene. He loved the job and he met 
and made friends with birdwatchers all over 
Scotland. Friendships that continued- we were 
the lucky ones!" Well, we won't argue over who 
were the luckier ones. But we can agree that we 
have all lost one of the very best of companions. 

Doit gal G Andrew 



John Berry 
1907-2002 

John Berry was a naturalist who made a difference. 
When he was born in 1 907, there was no electricity 
in Tayfield House, where his family were local 
landowners. There were no pine trees on Tentsmuir, 
where he roamed as boy and accompanied his 
father on shooting and natural history trips. There 
were no votes for women. Miss Baxter and Miss 
Rintoul, friends of the family, were laying the 
foundations of the modem knowledge of birds in 
Scotland, and persuaded the Berrys to shoot any 
bird for them on Tentsmuir that they could not 
otherwise identify. 

John Berry's love of natural history was evident 
even when he was young. After his father found 
him carrying horse droppings up to his bedroom 
to feed his pet dung beetles, he built him a little 
"bug house" in the garden at Tayfield, and in due 
course he graduated from keeping insects to 
keeping wildfowl. Hampered by brittle bones and 
dyslexia, he nevertheless prospered at Eton and 
at Cambridge, where he shared digs and an 
enthusiasm for geese with Peter Scott, correcting 
the paintings of his friend from his own greater 
knowledge of the anatomy of wildfowl. 
"Gooseberry" they called him in those days. At 
Cambridge he met another young birdwatcher. 
Bride Freemantle. Together they went off to study 
the waders on Fulbourne Fen, fell in love, manned 
and eventually had three children. 

When John left Cambridge, his career began to 
prosper as a researcher into fish biology. In 1936 
he was elected to a Fellowship of the Royal Society 
of Edinburgh, at the age of 29. He was a Fellow for 
66 years: elected the youngest, he died the oldest, 
a tenure of Scotland's premier learned society of 
extraordinary length. From this period, too, comes 
his only book. In collaboration with Misses Baxter 
and Rintoul, he amassed the data for the Wild 
Geese and Wild Duck of Scotland (1939), which 
for the first time of any region of the world. 



122 



SB 22(2) 



described the distribution of wildfowl and gave a 
scientifically based estimate of their numbers. It 
was an account on which all further work of the 
group in Scotland came to be based. 

During the Second World War, his health precluded 
him from active service, and he was appointed 
press censor, apparently as cover for counter 
intelligence. There is a story of the visit to Tayfield 
of a Spanish gentleman known to be a German 
spy. who was plied with food and information, 
while Spitfires screamed overhead and warships 
steamed into the Tay. 

After the war came to an end John was appointed 
to the new Hydro Board, designing the fish ladder 
at Pitlochry so that people could enjoy the sight of 
salmon moving up river. By then, however there 
were exciting initiatives in nature conservation. In 
1 948 he was sent to Fontainbleau for the founding 
meeting of the International Union for the 
Preservation (later Conservation) of Nature. At 
much the same time he was approached to become 
Director of the new Nature Conservancy in 
Scotland, a post he held for 18 years, in which the 
character of the organisation was formed and its 
operations became part of the fabric of Scottish 
Government and life. 

His greatest achievement was to establish the 
great series of Scottish National Nature Reserves, 
beginning with Beinn Eighe in 1 95 1 , when he was 
sent to buy a pine wood for £4000 and returned 
with the whole mountain. He added to Beinn 
Eighe a whole stream of other nature reserves, 
including Tentsmuir and Morton Lochs, Loch 
Leven, the Cairngorms (by agreement ), and Rum. 
purchased from its wealthy lady owner over the 
horses at Newmarket. He achieved wonders, and 
the award of a CBE was some recognition of this. 
'I am not a Scottish Nationalist' he was wont to 
say, i am a Scottish Naturalist', and we owe him 
a debt for his stewardship of Scottish nature that is 
hard to calculate. 



When he retired from the Nature Conservancy, he 
threw himself into the activities of nature 
conservation worldwide. He received Honorary 
Degrees from both Dundee and St. Andrews and 
he was busy everywhere with societies that were 
involved in wildlife, the Zoological Society, the 
SOC and the SWT especially. 

When the time came for him to leave Tayfield for 
a home in the grounds with fewer stairs, he built 
himself a new bug house and bred tropical 
butterflies. There I remember him in his last years, 
so friendly, so talkative, so amusing, surrounded 
by books, so rightly proud of what he had done yet 
so unassuming in other ways, always willing to 
help a student, or pass the time of day with a 
naturalist of any description. We have much to be 
thankful for in the life of John Berry. 

T C Smout 



i 



Scottish Birds (2001) 



123 



Advice to contributors 



Authors should bear in mind that only a small 
proportion of the Scottish Birds readership are 
scientists and should aim to present their material 
concisely, interestingly and clearly. Unfamiliar 
technical terms and symbols should be avoided 
wherever possible and, if deemed essential, should 
be explained. Supporting statistics should be kept 
to a minimum. All papers and short notes are 
accepted on the understanding that they have not 
been offered for publication elsewhere and that 
they will be subject to editing. Papers will be 
acknowledged on receipt and are normally 
reviewed by at least 2 members of the editorial 
panel and, in most cases, also by an independent 
referee. They will normally be published in order 
of acceptance of fully revised manuscripts. The 
editor will be happy to advise authors on the 
preparation of papers. 

Reference should be made to the most recent 
issues of Scottish Birds for guidance on style of 
presentation, use of capitals, form of references, 
etc. Papers should be typed on one side of the 
paper only, double spaced and with wide margins 
and of good quality: 2 copies are required and the 
author should also retain one. We are also happy 
to accept papers on disk or by email at: mail @ the- 
soc.org.uk. stating the type of word processing 
package used. If at all possible please use Microsoft 
Word 97. Contact the Admin Officer on 1 3 1 653 
0653 for further information. 

Headings should not be underlined, nor typed 
entirely in capitals. Scientific names in italics 
should normally follow the first text reference to 
each species unless all can be incorporated into a 
table. Names of birds should follow the official 
Scottish List (Scottish Birds 2001 Vol 22:33-49). 
Only single quotation marks should be used 



throughout. Numbers should be written as 
numerals except for one and the start of sentences. 
Avoid hyphens except where essential eg in bird 
names. Dates should be written: ...on 5 August 
1991. ..but not ...on the 5th... (if the name of the 
month does not follow ). Please do not use headers, 
footers and page numbers. Please note that papers 
shorter than c700 words will normally be treated 
as short notes, where all references should be 
incorporated into the text, and not listed at the end. 
as in full papers. 

Tables, maps and diagrams should be designed to 
fit either a single column or the full page width. 
Tables should be self explanatory and headings 
should be kept as simple as possible, with footnotes 
used to provide extra details where necessary. 
Each table, graph or map should be on a separate 
sheet, and if on disc each table, graph, map etc 
should be on a separate document. Please do not 
insert tables, graphs and maps in the same document 
as the text. Maps and diagrams should be either 
good quality computer print out and in black and 
white (please do not use greyscale shading) or 
drawn in black ink. but suitable for reduction from 
their original size. Contact the Admin Officer on 
1 3 1 653 0653 for further details of how best to 
lay out tables, graphs, maps etc. 



124 



SB 22(2) 




... and help 

to enjoy and study Scottish 

The Scottish Ornithologists' Club was formed in 1936 to 
help people of all ages and backgrounds appreciate Scottish 
birds. We would like help from members to establish a new 
club HQ and resource centre for birdwatching in Scotland : 



The work of the SOC in its early days was helped by 
legacies. A gift can help us today & in the future. 



Your legacy, or gift, can make a real difference to 
establishing our new resource centre & SOC HQ. 

Perhaps you have a slide collection, or books, which 
could be used to expand the SOC's collections. 



For further information contact : Bill Gardner m.b.e. 
Tlie SOC, Harbour Point, Newhailes Road, Musselburgh EH21 6JS 
Telephone : 0131 653 0653 or Fax us on 0131 653 0654 



SC No : 009859 



! 



Scottish Birds 



Volume 22 Part 2 December 2001 

Contents 

Main papers | 

Cliff nesting seabirds in east Caithness 1980 -1993. R J Evans 73 
Status, distribution and breeding success of the Red billed Chough in Scotland 

in 1 988. A S Cook, M C Grant, C R McKay & M A Peacock 82 

Diet of Barn Owl in East Ross and East Ness. H McGlue. 92 

Short notes 

Female Eurasian Sparrowhawk caching prey. 

K Needle, K Hintjens &TW Dougall 1 04 

Grey Heron predating White throated Dipper. A Mee & T Dougall 104 

Eurasian Oystercatcher chick killed by sibling. A Duncan 105 
Frequency of prey transfer by Hen Harriers during the breeding season. 

RC Dickson 106 

Herring Gull predating chick of Red throated Diver. R C Dickson 106 

Little Gulls feeding in association with auks. A Vittery 107 

Feeding rates of Scottish Crossbills on Sitka Spruce. D C Jardine 108 

Peregrine Falcon predation at hirundine roosts. R McMillan 1 1 

Large winter gathering of auks in the Firth of Forth. C Mylne III 

Quail heard on north east Scottish farmland in 1988-2001. A Watson 1 12 

Obituaries 

Dick Roxburgh. Chris Rollie 114 

A W (Tony) Colling Mike Fraser 1 1 5 

Robert Wood Jackson Smith. Dougal G Andrew 1 1 7 

L A Urquart. Donald Watson 119 

Major Alastair Peirse-Duncome. Dougal G Andrew 120 

John Berry. T C Smout 121 

Advice to Contibutors 123 
Front Cover Northern Fulmar Fred Westcott 



Published by the Scottish Ornithologists' Club, 
Harbour Point, Newhailes Road, Musselburgh, EH21 6JS. © 2002 



1998 and 1999 
RAPTOR ROUND UP 



C3 APR 2002 



Produced by the 
Scottish Ornithologists' Club 

on behalf of all 
Scottish Raptor Study Groups 
with grant aid from 
Scottish Natural Heritage 




SRSG 




SCOTTISH 
NATURAL 
HERITAGE 




upplement to Scottish Birds Volume 22 



2001 
ISSN 0036 9144 



Introduction 



This 2 year edition of the Raptor Round Up has had a long and sometimes painful gestation, bedevilled 
by a whole series of delays and problems. These have finally been overcome and this report - for 1 998 
and 1999 - is the final result. 

During this period birds of prey continued to occupy the political stage in Scotland. A vigorous and not 
always well informed debate in the general and specialised press rumbled on, focussing on the inter- 
related issues of illegal raptor persecution and legalised raptor culling. 

Against this background birds of prey generally did well but marked exceptions to this trend persisted. 
Hen Harriers, as ever, held the dubious distinction of being Scotland's most persecuted bird. Golden 
Eagles still had 'holes' in their breeding distribution with no obvious ecological explanation for such 
gaps. Some Northern Goshawk populations did not expanded as well as others - the differences almost 
certainly attributable to persecution. Red Kites - in all other respects a great success story - experienced 
levels of poisoning that may restrict their rate of expansion. Not all poor performance was persecution 
related. Far northern and western Peregrine Falcons showed low levels of site occupancy in some areas. 
Orkney Hen Harriers - free of human interference - continued to decline, a situation that is being 
examined in a dedicated research programme. However, there was continuing good news for Common 
Buzzards, Ospreys and White-tailed Eagles and not all populations of the persecuted species suffered 
from this chronic problem. 

The future of the Raptor Round Up itself is now in some doubt. Some RSG workers have expressed the 
view that the new SNH/BTO raptor monitoring proposals will automatically mean the end of the Round 
Up. Others have said that the 2 things are not mutually exclusive and should continue in parallel. I offer 
no view of my own on this issue except to say that it should be resolved by a collective decision of the 
Groups. A 2000 Raptor Round Up already exists in embryonic form. 

Keith Morton 



This report was written by Keith Morton with layout and editing input from Sylvia Laing, Bob 
Dawson and Helen Cameron. It is based on material supplied by Scottish Raptor Study Group 
members. The Scottish Raptor Study Group logo was designed and drawn by Keith Brockie. 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



Red Kite 



mm i 



G3 



2002 



Milvus milvus 



Central Scotland 



1998 
7999 



occupied 

2 
6 



successful 

2 
4 



chicks fledged 

5 
5 



1998 - A first year male was established on another 
territory. Territory occupation/breeding progress 
is 2 years ahead of that of the northern release. A 
Red Kite was found poisoned some distance to 
the north of the release area in March. Twenty 
further new birds were introduced from Germany. 



1999 - A seventh potential pair of birds spent 
some days together over an ill defined area that 
may prove to be a future territory. A sixth chick 
hatched but fell out of the nest and was predated. 
All young were wing tagged. One bird was found 
poisoned close to the eastern edge of the release 
area and a number of other poisonings in this 
immediate area gave cause for concern. Twenty 
further new birds were introduced from Germany. 



Highland 





checked 


occupied 


laid 


hatched successful 


chicks fledged 


1998 


38 


28 


23 


21 20 


44 


7999 


48 


32 


30 


22 


54 



1998 - In addition to the 28 territories occupied by 
pairs, 4 territories held single adults. The numbers 
of pairs laying eggs showed no increase on the 
previous year. This is thought to be due to a 
combination of poor spring weather deterring 
new pairs from nesting and low recruitment of 
new breeding pairs. However, in terms of the 
number of pairs rearing broods and the total 
number of young fledged. 1998 was the most 
successful breeding season experienced so far. 
Forty one of the 44 young reared were marked 
(bright blue tag on the left wing - regional colour 
code - lime green tag on the right wing - year 
colour code - with a unique inscription - single 
white letter, white number or red symbol - on both 
tags). A male Black Isle chick from 1996 was 
located at a kite roost in Central region in the 
company of locally released birds. He paired with 
a 2 year old local and successfully reared 2 young. 



This is the first record of a North Scotland kite 
breeding away from the core area. 

Four Red Kites were found dead during 1998 in 
Highland. Three of these were poisoned. No 
cause of death was found for the fourth, a tideline 
corpse near North Kessock. 

A 1997 Black Isle chick was seen in south east 
Iceland from 15 December 1997 and throughout 
1998. This remarkable sighting ( 1,017km north 
west) constitutes the first ever record of a Red Kite 
in Iceland. There were more normal winter 
sightings of Highland tagged birds from Tiree, 
Tayside, Kyle of Lochalsh and Strathspey. Further 
afield were 2 birds in Ireland (Co. Clare and Co. 
Cork) and a single bird at Rhayader in Wales. 



2 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



1999 - In terms of the number of pairs rearing 
broods and the total number of young fledged, 
1999 was the most successful breeding season 
experienced so far. There was a 30% increase in 
the number of young reared compared to 1998. It 
has been suggested that there should be a greater 
number of pairs than actually exists at the present 
in North Scotland. Low recruitment in 1997 may 
be to blame for this. 



The breeding results would have been even higher 
but for the miserably cold weather experienced 
during mid May and early June which caused 
several inexperienced pairs to fail. A bird from 
North Scotland area was recovered dead under 
power lines near Bilbao, Spain in May. 




Angus Hogg 

White-tailed Eagle Haliaeetus albicilla 



occupied laid 


successful 




chicks 






fledged 








1998 1 7 




15 




9 






13 








1999 18 




15/16 




6 






11 








10 Year Summary 
























1990 


1991 1992 


1993 


1994 


1995 


1996 


1997 


1998 


1999 


No of pairs or trios 


9 


9 


8 


8 


10 


10 


12 


13-15 


18-18 


15-16 


No of areas occupied 


12 


10 





10 


1 1 


14 


14 


14 


18 


20 


No of clutches laid 


9 


8 


9 


6 


8 


9 


12 


1-13 


16-17 


15-16 


No of clutches known 


2 


4 


4 


4 


4 


6 


8 


6 


9 


9 


to have hatched 






















No of broods fledging 


2 


4 


4 


4 


4 


5 


7 


5 


9 


6 


Young 






















No of young fledged 


2 


7 


7 


5 


5 


7 


9 


9 


13 


1 1 


Cumulative no of 


4 


4 


5 


5 


5 


6 


8 


9 


12 


12 



territories producing 
young 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



The second phase of the release programme begun 
in 1993 was concluded in 1998 with the import of 
the final batch of chicks from Norway. Between 
1993 and 1998 a total of 59 birds were released. 

In 1998&99 successful pairs fledged a total of 13 
chicks. This included the first birds to breed from 
the second phase release - 2 pairs - and a new 
Scottish bred pair which had failed in 1997. 
Breeding success figures would have been better 
but for the attention of egg collectors who robbed 
2 established and normally productive pairs. Eggs 
stolen at one of these sites were within a few days 
of hatching. 



1999 was the second most successful year since 
the reintroduction project began 24 years ago. A 
total of 1 1 young fledged from Scottish nests, 2 
less than in 1998. All nest failures were attributed 
to natural causes, although disturbance was 
suspected at one site. One pair failed when an 
apparently healthy 3 week old chick fell out of the 
nest. One of the birds released in 1998 was found 
dead (of natural causes) in Sutherland. Of the 59 
released in the second phase only 3 have been 
recovered dead. 

The cumulative number of pairs to have 
successfully produced young remains unchanged 
and 12. 




John Love 



4 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



Hen Harrier 



Circus cyaneus 



Orkney 



1998 
1999 



breeding 
females 

46 



breeding 
males 

27 
17 



nesting 
attempts 

34 
24 



laid 



26 
21 



hatched Hedged 



14 
10 



9 

10 



chicks 
fledged 

20 
21 



1998 - This season saw the start of a PhD study 
into Orkney's Hen Harriers. 

The results from 1 998 show a very similar pattern 
to that of recent years. In Orkney as a whole where 
46 females and 27 females of which 39 females 
and 21 males were in the West Mainland, 5 pairs 
were on Hoy and 2 females with one male were on 
Rousay. The number of males in the West 
Mainland is higher than thought in 1996/97 but 
the difference is mainly in the number of first year 
birds (5 in 1998). One of the Hoy males was also 
a first year. 

Twelve of the females ( 1 1 in the West Mainland 
and one on Rousay) were non breeders but 34 
females (28 West Mainland, 5 on Hoy and one on 
Rousay) did attempt to nest. Eight of the West 
Mainland females did not lay so the success of 26 
nests with contents was followed. Twelve of 
these (9 in the West Mainland and 3 on Hoy ) failed 
at the egg stage while a further 5 (all in the West 
Mainland) failed at the chick stage. There were 
thus only 9 successful nests (6 West Mainland, 2 
Hoy, and one Rousay) which produced a total of 
20 fledged young ( 1 1 West Mainland, 5 on Hoy 
and 4 on Rousay). 



1999 - In the West Mainland study area 32 females 
and 20 males - of which 4 were first year males - 
were located. Twelve of the females were non 
breeders but of the 20 which did attempt to nest 
only 18 laid eggs. Ten of the nests failed during 
incubation but 8 hatched young. In addition, one 
of the failed females successfully re laid to give a 
total of 9 broods. From these a total of 20 young 
tledged, a productivity of 2.2 young per successful 
nest of 1.0 per breeding female. 

On Hoy, 4 pairs attempted to nest. At one site 
nesting material was carried in; it is not known 
whether eggs were laid but this site did not rear 
young. Another site failed during incubation and 
another at the chick stage. The fourth nest reared 
2 chicks. 

On Rousay a female and an adult male were seen 
occasionally but no nest was ever found and no 
young were reared. 

The overall Orkney totals were thus 25 males (of 
which 4 were first years) and 37 females (of which 
13 were non breeders). The 24 females which 
attempted to breed laid at least 21 clutches from 
which 22 young were reared. The improved 
breeding success of the birds which bred in the 
West Mainland is thought to be due to the 
supplementary feeding being carried out as an 
experimental part of a the PhD study. 



yu lx 1 y y y txuyiur i\Lnttiu L->{' 



5 



Lothian and Borders 

1998 - Five pairs were seen but only one was 
allowed to breed and this subsequently failed. 

Lammermuirs - 1 pair seen early which then 
disappeared; 

Moorfoots - 3 pairs possibly present, one predated 
at large young stage; 
Pentlands - one territorial pair. 

1999 - Ten pairs were known but only 3 pairs 
within the Borders portion of the Langholm study 
area raised any young. 

Pentlands - one pair and an extra female were seen 
in one area from mid April to early May. A male 
was seen 2-3km away from this in early May. 
There were no further sightings. 

Moorfoots - There was a pair in one area April - 
May, seen skydancing but with no evidence of 
nesting. An extra male was seen on one occasion. 
A pair at another site c 4km away was seen in mid 
I April and were skydancing in late May. 

I Lammermuirs - A male was seen at one site in 
April and another displaying at another site in 

[ May. There was an unsubstantiated report that a 
male and 3 females were killed in the 
Lammermuirs. 

Tweedsmuir Hills - a male was displaying in early 
April and pair at the end if the month. Nothing 
more was seen on 2 visits in mid and late May. A 
pair were prospecting and male displayed at 
i different site but no nest was found. 

Langholm Area (Borders only) - Three pairs 
fledged 7 young. 

I Elsewhere - A pair was present in the Ne wcastleton 
area (outwith the Langholm study area) with no 
evidence of success. A pair was present south of 
Hawick. 



Argyll 

1998 - Selected 10km squares were surveyed in 
Argyll by RSG members and RSPB field staff as 
part of the national survey. Fifty two territorial 
pairs were located in these squares and the study 
area. Some of these survey squares in Kintyre, 
Islay and Jura held up to 5 pairs (probable plus 
possible). Quoting just these higher figures would 
obscure the overall picture. Some surveyors 
found no harriers in their chosen squares including 
one square in mid Argyll which supported none 
for the first time in 10 years of study. Based on 
this data an extrapolated figure of 1 24 pairs was 
estimated for Argyll (25% of the extrapolated 
Scottish population). The RSPB Loch Gruinart 
reserve had a good year for Hen Harriers with nine 
territories occupied and 5 successful pairs raising 
12 chicks. 

Where causes of nest failure were identified, most 
appeared to be natural including a site that was 
predated by a Fox on Cowal . Ho we ver the presence 
of adult female feathers at another failed nest on 
Cowal and the remains of a dead adult female at a 
site on Bute are of more concern. 

1999 - sample sites were monitored on Mull, Islay 
(including the RSPB Reserve at Loch Gruinart) 
Mid Argyll. Knapdale, Kintyre, Cowal and Bute. 
At Loch Gruinart reserve it was a poor season with 
only 3 pairs producing 8 young. On Bute, one nest 
fledged 2 chicks and also contained 2 further 
chicks which failed to develop primaries and died. 
( These symptoms have been seen once previously, 
2 years ago). ^^^^ 




Andrew Stevenson 



6 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



occupied laid fledged chicks fledged young per 

successful territory 



1998 (47-52)* 27* 

1999 (27)** 24" 



21 



IS 
16 



52 
39+ 



2.88 
2.43 



1998 - The survey required proof of occupation but did not require nests to be located and breeding success to 
be followed up. This explains the discrepancy between the large numbers of occupied territories and the far 
smaller figures for nests completely monitored by group members. 
X 1998 - Numbers in brackets are all probable plus all possible pairs located. 

ft 1999 - Numbers in brackets include all pairs located, including territorial pairs present in early spring but 
which did not stay to breed. 

* 1998 No of sites fully monitored (included in the number of probable and possible pairs) for breeding 

success. 

** 1999 No of sites (included in the total) that were fully monitored for breeding success. 



North East 



1998 - The national survey resulted in good 
coverage. Persecution continued to be recorded 
as the major cause of failure with adults 
dissappearing from a number of local populations. 



1999 - 1 999 was a another poor year for harriers. 
In lower Deeside, where there were usually 1 5 or 
so pairs each year in the 1 970s and 80s, there were 
only two pairs. One was definitely persecuted and 
the other probably so. 



pairs 



outcome 
unknown 



laded 



successful 



chicks 
fledged 



1998 

1999 



27 
14 



17 

6 



18/19+ 
19 



Central 



1998 - The partial coverage of the area suggests 
a poor season. For one of the 3 failed pairs this 
was the second year running that this has happened. 
One pair may have been successful but the result 
was not confirmed. 

checked failed 

1998 4 3 

1999 5 I 



1999 - There were a few records from the south 
east of the group's area including 2 females and a 
male present in spring at one location. In 
Dunbartonshire one pair reared 4young, one paired 
reared 3 young, one pair failed and one additional 
pair was present. 

fledged chicks fledged 

1? ? 
2 7 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



7 



Tayside 

1998 - In Perthshire fewer pairs were located than 
previously but mean productivity of successful 
pairs was high. There were 17 pairs West of the 
A9 and 25 in the core area East of the A9. One 
bigamous male was successful with both broods 
but there were a lot of "spare" birds around. 

In Angus 2pairs were located, of which one was 
successful. In both cases the male of the pair was 
a first summer bird - indicative of persecution in 
the area. The successful pair laid 7 eggs of which 
3 hatched. The number of pairs in Angus is far 
below the carrying capacity - again indicative of 
persecution. 

1999 - In Perthshire coverage was lower in the 
main study area than in 1 998. Early failures were 
attributed to heavy rain and productivity was 
slightly down on the previous year. There appears 
to be a continued gradual decline in the west of the 
area. 



occupied fledged chicks 
fledged 



1998 








Perthshire 


42 


17 


61 + 


Angus 


2 


1 


2+ 


Total 


44 


IX 


63+ 


7999 








Perthshire 


23 


13 


37 


Angus 


3 


2 


6 


Total 


25 


15 


43 



In Angus 2 pairs succeeded - the best performance 
since monitoring started in 1983 but almost 
certainly only a fraction of the area's true carrying 
capacity with persecution the most likely cause of 
this situation. 



Dumfries & Galloway and South 
Strathclyde 

1998 - Overall this was a record year for breeding 
in south west Scotland, with more pairs occupying 
territory than ever recorded before. However this 
number is certainly bolstered by the situation at 

occupied laid 



Langholm where the species continues to enjoy 
protection. In addition, the simple occupation 
figures mask a high level of persecution in many 
areas away from Langholm especially in upper 

failed outcome chicks 

(human) unknown fledged 



successful 



1998 

S.Strath. 44 31 13/14 22(20) 9 46+ 

D&G 34 27 20 9(5) 5 63+ 

Total 78 58 33/34 31 (25) 14 109+ 



1999 

S.Strath 34 34 7 27(7 7)+ / 18 

D&G 20 16 10 6(5) 30+ 

Total 54 50 17 33(22) I ^S+ 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



Nithsdale and around Muirkirk where productivity 
is consistently low. 

1999 - Persistent persecution in upper Nithsdale is 
fast reducing the breeding population, with only 3 
breeding attempts in 1999 (all unsuccessful). 
Several years ago some 10 to 12 pairs were 
regularly attempting to breed in this area but this 
has been greatly reduced by nest destruction and 
almost certainly by the killing of the females at the 
nest. This sub population is likely to be reduced 
to sporadic breeding attempts by prospecting pairs. 
Heavy persecution also remains apparent in South 
Strathcyde in the Muirkirk area resulting in a 
mean of only 0.53 chicks produced for each 
occupied territory. 

Highland 

1998 - The late spring and cool wet summer of 
1 998 resulted in a below average breeding season 
for unpersecuted pairs. A sample of 1 5 nests gave 
a mean clutch size of 4.8, slightly below the long 
term average. Brood sizes tended to be on the 
small size with 4 b/2, 5 b/3, 4b/4 and a single b/5 
from the sample of 23 nests. This gives a mean 
brood size of 1 .9 young per breeding pair and 3. 1 
per pair rearing young. Nine nests (39%) failed 
completely. The causes were: unknown (1-2); 
persecution (5-6); natural predation (2). 



1999 - In contrast to the 1998 survey year 1999 
was a poor year for data collection of this species 
the Highland area. Only 10 active nests were 
checked, the lowest number since 1987. The high 
number of nests monitored in the period 1989 to 
1995 correspond with a long term RSPB study 
involving wing tagging of young. There was a 
brief resurgence in the number of nests recorded 
in 1 998, the year of a national Hen Hairier breeding 
survey. The recent reduction in the number of 
nest records submitted could reflect either a lack 
of effort by the group or may mirror a general 
decline in the number of breeding pairs present. 
There is some evidence to suggest the latter. No 
harriers were recorded at 5 traditional breeding 
sites which did receive repeated visits in the 
spring of 1999. All were on active grouse moors, 
3 in east Inverness and 2 in Badenoch and 
Strathspey. This could suggest that persistent 
persecution is now having an impact on the number 
of pairs not only on sporting estates but also on 
other moors throughout our study area. 

Most of the nest records submitted in 1999 were 
not on driven grouse moors, so that nesting success 
of the sample (70%) was higherthan the long term 
average (see table below). Mean brood size in 
1999 at 2.0 young per clutch laid and 2.9 young 
per successful nest was close to the long term 
average. 



laid hatched fledged chicks fledged 

1998 

Sutherland 7 6 5 13 

ERoss 2 2 2 7 

Bad & Strath 4 

Nairn 1 114 

W Moray 9 8 6 20 

Total 23 17 14 44 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



<> 



Hen Harrier breeding success in Highland and west Moray, 1989 to 1999 



Year 


laid 


fledged 


nesting 


chicks 


Mean brood per 


Mean br 








success 


fledged 


successful nest 


per clutc 








% 




nest 


laid 


1989 


36 


19 


53% 


63 


3.3 


1.8 


1990 


38 


25 


66% 


77 


3.1 


2.0 


1991 


34 


21 


62% 


60 


2.9 


1 .8 


1992 


47 


28 


60% 


104 


3.7 


2.2 




j\ i 


if 


Ho 10 


1 s 


D . 1 




1994 


51 


25 


49% 


78 


3.1 


1.5 


1995 


43 


24 


56% 


83 


3.5 


1.9 


1996 


19 


13 


68% 


40 


3.1 


2.1 


1997 


12 


9 


75% 


26 


2.9 


2.2 


1998 


23 


14 


61% 


44 


3.1 


1.9 


1999 


10 


7 


70% 


20 


2.9 


2.0 


1989-99 


363 


209 


58% 


670 


3.2 


1.8 




Nick Fico y.i 



10 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



Northern Goshawk 



Accipiter gentilis 



Borders 





checked 


occupied 


laid 


hatched 


fledged 




chicks 














1998 


46 


38 


35 


26 


23 


46 


1999 


50 


43 


36 


31 


29 


73 



1998 - Twenty four of the nests were on Forest 
Enterprise ground, the rest in private woodlands. 
A high proportion of the many failures were 
around egg laying time and also around hatching 
time. This was attributed to the severe weather 
which had a marked effect on the season as a 
whole. There were 1.2 chicks produced per 
occupied site. No incidents of direct persecution 
were recorded although human interference is still 
considered to be the main factor limiting Border 
Goshawks. Six new sites were discovered, which 
highlights the feeling that if more woods could 
be checked yet more new sites would be 
discovered. Goshawks are now confirmed to be 
established in Berwickshire, although one of the 

Central Scotland 



chicks from the site was found dead on the nest 
from frounce - not recorded in South Scotland/ 
North England since 1991. All previous cases of 
frounce have resulted in the death of the entire 
brood. 

1999 - A marked improvement on 1 998 with over 
50% more chicks fledged. Clutches of 5 were 
common and one clutch of 6 was recorded. There 
were 1.7 chicks produced per occupied site. 



1998 - One successful pair was recorded with at 
least two young reared and a second pair seen 
elsewhere. It is suspected that up to five or six 
pairs may attempt to breed annually in the Group's 
area. 



1999 - The single recorded pair reared 4 young. 
There were various records of single birds seen 
elsewhere. 




Arthur Gilpin 



iyya oc yyyy napror tunma up 



II 



North East 

1998 - No specific data are available but the 
general picture reported was of a high failure rate 
due to spring snow. 

checked pairs found nests found 

21 17 16 



1999 - The following data are from the Dee and 
Don catchments between Huntly and Fettercairn 

fledged chicks fledged 

13 31 + 



North East RSG fieldworkers have noted the 
marked difference in rate of expansion between 
their Goshawk population and that in the English/ 
Scottish Border country. Borders goshawks have 
had at least a 25-fold increase in breeding numbers 
between the 1970s and the present whereas the 



North East population has barely doubled over 
the same period. This has been attributed to 
substantial differences in the levels of direct 
persecution. 



Tayside 

1998 - One successful nest was reported in Angus 
which fledged 3 young. There may be a second 
site. 



1999 - Two successful nests were recorded in 
Angus with 2 and 4 young of which at least 4 
certainly fledged 



Dumfries & Galloway 

1998 - Prior to 1999 there was no attempt made 
to assess the size of the breeding Goshawk 
population in the region, although there is no 
doubt that the species is fairly widespread with 
breeding pairs reported in all three counties. The 
following information is derived from a few ad 
hoc records recorded from various sources. 



In the Forest Park at least 2 pairs bred, one 
successfully, with a single male seen regularly in 
a third location. In Dumfriesshire 2 pairs were 
located, one known to be successful with 3 chicks, 
and 2 further sites were apparently unoccupied. 
There were reports of persecution in Nithsdale 
but nothing substantive was discovered. 



1999 - More quantitative data were available for 1999 with results as follows. 

checked occupied laid fledged chicks fledged 

10 8 7 5 9+ 



12 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



Buteo buteo 



occupied 


laid 


fledged 


22+ (-) 


L7(-) 


15 (16) 


1 Q ( I8\ 


OKI 


J [Jul 


26(31) 


-(-) 


8 (23) 


12 (40) 


-(-) 


4(-) 


4(4) 


4(-) 


4(2) 


83 (-) 


-(-) 


36(-) 



Common Buzzard 




Argyll 




1998 & (1999) 


checked 


young fledged 




SWMull 


22+ (-) 


20 (25) 




Colonsay 


- (48) 


1(14) 




Cowal: Glenbranter 


- (-) 


8 (29) 




Cowal: Elsewhere 


- (-) 


5 (-) 




Bute 


4 (-) 


8 (3) 




Total 


-(-) 


48(-) 





1998 - Monitoring data was obtained from several 
areas including data from 16 nests on SW Mull 
and coverage of all of Colonsay/Oronsay. 

1999 - Large samples were monitored again in 
several areas. On Colonsay/Oronsay Rabbit 
populations were low in 1 999. Coupled with poor 
weather during the breeding season this led to the 



poorest productivity recorded in 10 years. In the 
Cowal, Glenbranter study area 26 occupied 
territories were identified and 8 successful pairs 
Hedged only 8 young. Only one of the monitored 
pairs throughout Cowal produced more than one 
chick. Observations suggest that pairs nesting in 
the extreme south of Cowal, south of 
Tighnabruaich, may have fared a little better. 



North East 



The Buzzard population in the 1 5km 2 area between 
Kemnay and Dunecht on the Old Castle Fraser 
estate was surveyed in both 1998 and 1999. A 
total of 20 breeding sites were located by searching 
woods or shelter belts for old nests. Breeding 
pairs were then located s they displayed in the 
spring and their subsequent breeding success 
recorded. The density of breeding pairs varied 
from 1.26/km 2 ( 1998) to 1 . 1 3/km2 (1999) and site 
occupancy fell from 100% to 80%. There was no 
evidence of persecution. Productivity was similar 
in both years (1.59 young/occupied site in 1998; 
1.58 young/occupied site in 1999) as was the 



number of young fledged per successful site ( 1 .88 
young/successful site in 1998; 1.93 young/ 
successful site in 1999). 

In 1998 only, the Buzzard population on a large 
part (35km 2 ) of Dunecht estate was also surveyed. 
The density was 1.0 pairs/ km 2 . Site occupancy in 
1999 was known to be similar but breeding data 
were not collected. The difference in breeding 
density between the 2 study areas is thought to 
reflect habitat differences with more open areas 
without suitable breeding sites on Dunecht estate. 
The results are shown in the following table. 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



13 





Kenmay/Dunecht ( 1 5km 2 ) 


Uunecht (35km 2 ) 




1998 


1999 


1998 


checked 


19 


19 


37 


sites/km 2 


1.27 


1.27 


1.06 


occupied by a single bird 








2 


occupied by a pair 


19 


17 


34 


pairs/ km 2 


1.27 


1.13 


1.03 


failed 


-i 


3 


6 


successful 


17 


14 


30 


min. no. young fledged 


32 


27 


61 


mean young/occupied site 


1.68 


1.59 


1.69 


mean young/ successful site 


1.88 


1.93 


2.03 


mean young/ km 2 


2.0 


1.8 


1.74 



Highland 

The Highland RSG received details of the 
breeding performance of 96 pairs of Buzzards in 
1998 and 102 pairs in 1999 (of which 99 were 



sufficiently complete to include in the table). The 
most complete and detailed study in both years 
was that done in Easter Ross to the east of Tain. 



1998 & (1999) 


occupied 


laid 


hatched 


fledged 


chicks fledged 


N & W Sutherland 


12 (24) 


12 (22) 


11 (20) 


11 (19) 


18 (34) 


Skye and Small Isles* 


14(8*) 


14(8*) 


14 (8) 


14(8) 


22 (10) 


Easter Ross 


58 (52) 


53 (49) 


45 (42) 


42 (38) 


94 (71) 


Strathspey 


58 (8) 


53 (8) 


45 (8) 


42 (7) 


94 (18) 


Others 


7(7*) 


7 (7*) 


7 (7) 


7 (7) 


18 (18) 


Total 


96 (99) 


91 (94) 


78 (85) 


75 (79) 


155 (151) 



+ 1999 figures are for Skye only 

* These figures should be treated with caution as nests were mainly checked late in the season and early failures 
may have been missed 



1998 - Overall a good year for breeding Buzzards 
in the Highland area. In the main Easter Ross 
study area 58 pairs were carefully followed. Mean 
clutch size was once again 2.8. The mean brood 
6 of successful pairs was 2.4, but due to the 21% 
of pairs that failed, only 1.6 young were fledged 
per territorial pair. These productivity figures 
were slightly higher than normal and the highest 
recorded since 1992. 



In the second main study area, the north and west 
of Sutherland, breeding success was slightly lower 
than in Easter Ross with most birds rearing only 

I or 2 chicks. None reared more than 2, whereas 
in Easter Ross, of the 39 successful broods, 19 
had more than 2 chicks. However, only one of 
the Sutherland pairs failed totally, compared with 

I I of the Easter Ross pairs. The breeding success 
in Sutherland was well below the 1997 record of 



14 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



2.3 young per pair. This was almost certainly due 
to the summer weather conditions which were far 
wetter and windier than the unusually warm, dry 
summer of 1997. 

Details were received from a new area in the west, 
Skye and the Small Isles (mainly Eigg and Carina). 
The overall pattern of success there was very 
similar to that in NW Sutherland. 

Strathspey productivity was again very low with 
4 out of 5 monitored nests failing. At 3 of these 
sites persecution from estates engaged in game 
management was strongly suspected. Prior to an 
increase in game management, these 3 sites had 
been very successful over a 15 year period. 

The figures from other areas suggest a very high 
success rate. These figures, however, are almost 
certainly biased towards successful nests as very 
little systematic searching is done to locate all 
nests early on in the breeding cycle, so that early 
breeding failures were missed, inflating the overall 
success rate. 

1999 - this was considered an average year for 
Buzzards in the Highland Group's area. The close 
study of 52 pairs in the Tain area of Easter Ross 
revealed a mean clutch size of 2.8. Mean brood 
size of successful pairs was low at 1 .9 and a 22% 
failure rate meant that only 1 .4 chicks fledged per 
territorial pair. This is at the bottom end of the 
recorded range of productivity. This was 
attributed to cool, wet weather during June. 

In the other main study area in north and west 
Sutherland breeding success was similar to 1998 
and similar to that recorded in Easter Ross. There 
were few total failures but most pairs reared only 
1 or 2 chicks. 



failure and half the pairs producing 3 chicks. No 
persecution was recorded in 1999 whereas it was 
considered to be the main factor in failures in 
1998. 

Skye appeared to have a poor season and the 
figures may overstate productivity since many 
sites were only checked late in the season and 
some early failures may have been missed. A 
similar situation applies with the "others" data in 
the table (mainly from the Black Isle and 
Strathpeffer areas). 

Overall, however. Highland Buzzards continue to 
do well with productivity fluctuating only slightly 
and being sufficient to sustain a healthy and 
expanding population. 

Lothian and Borders 

During 1998 and 1999 both the Borders and 
Lothian continued to see substantial re- 
colonisation by Buzzards. In the Borders the 
species remained significantly commoner in its 
core areas in the north and west of the region with 
an estimated minimum there of 350 pairs in 1998 
and 357 in 1999. In the south and east of the 
region the species is still much more thinly spread 
but re-colonisation continues. In this part the 
minimum number of pairs was 56 in 1998 and 41 
in 1999. 

The Lothian Buzzard population also continued 
its spectacular success story and further expansion 
and in filling took place. The following table 
summarises the productivity this situation between 
1993 and 1999. 



In contrast to 1 998 productivity from the few pairs 
monitored in Strathspey was good with only one 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



15 



Lothian Buzzards 


1999 


1998 


1997 


1996 


1995 


1994 


1993 


Territorial pairs 


86 


82 


62 


52 


50 


33 


20 


Successful pairs 


66 


56 


45 


38 


33 


21 


1 1 


Total young recorded 


159 


120 


128 


102 


91 


37 


25 


Chicks per successful pair 


2.4 


2.14 


2.86 


2.68 


2.76 


1.76 


2.27 


Chicks per territorial pair 


1.85 


1.46 


2.05 


1.96 


1.82 


1.12 


1.25 




Andrew Stevenson 



16 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



Golden Eagle 



Aquila chrysaetos 



Central Scotland 



checked 



1998 
1999 



occupied 



1998 - Full coverage was achieved. Single birds 
were recorded in the 2 unoccupied ranges. 



Tayside 

1998 and (1999) 



checked 



occupied 



successful 

5 
5 



chicks fledged 

5 
6 



1999 - At one otherwise successful site the uneaten 
remains of the 4 week old second chick were 
found at a regular perch used by the adults. 



fledged 



chicks fledged 



Wof A9 
E of A9 

Total 



16(14) 
13 (13) 

29 (27) 



10 (13) 
12 (7/) 

22 (22) 



1998 - West of the A9 had a very poor year, even 
by West Perthshire standards. Two sites failed on 
eggs - both clutches were analysed and both had 
failed with no embryo development having taken 
place. One clutch was from a home range with 
extremely poor food resources in the west of the 
area which habitually fails at the egg stage. The 
other was on the edge of a grouse moor with good 
bird and Hare resources close by but on a very 
open ledge, probably a victim of poor weather. 
The anomaly of no breeding in part of the relatively 
food rich east end of the study area continues. 
Although forestry plantation in one range is likely 
to be affecting food supply, a further 5 territories 
are apparently ideal for these birds. A complete 
lack of signs of birds in the most western territory 
in Perthshire is worrying, particularly as it follows 
a long term failure to produce. 

East of the A9 there was a reasonable season with 
weather probably the cause of poor success in 
areas like Glen Clova. 

1999 - West of the A9 only 4 nests reached the 
laying stage and 2 of these failed. The production 



2(2) 
7 (6) 

9(8) 



2+ (2) 
11+ (9) 

13+ (11) 



of the few succesful nests in the study area - and 
always the same ones - must be crucial to the 
whole local population. 

Argyll 

1998 - the number of successful pairs was a little 
lower than the previous year dropping to 22 (25 in 
1997) and 27 fledged young produced compared 
to 31/32 in 1997. Five sets of twins were fledged 
for the second consecutive year. In the study area 
on South mainland Argyll the season was described 
as pretty poor and extremely confusing in some 
areas where it proved difficult to assign non- 
breeding birds to particular territories. 

An adult Golden Eagle was caught in a Fox snare 
on the Cowal in April and although released 
unharmed this may have contributed to the lack of 
a breeding attempt in this territory. A Golden 
Eagle was found poisoned close to a known nest 
site in a mid Argyll territory that has had a singular 
lack of breeding success for many years. While it 
was estimated that it had been dead for 3 to 4 
weeks a very freshly dead Hare and lamb were 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



17 



checked occupied fledged 



1998 
1999 



61 
61 



54 

57 



22 
16 



found laid as poisoned baits nearby and a live 
immature eagle was seen in the area. 

1999 - Overall this year had a poor breeding 
season in Argyll especially in the south Argyll 



% occupied 
territories to 
fledge 

40.7% 
28.0% 



chicks 
fledged 



27+ 
17 



chicks per 
successful 
pair 

I 22 
7.06 



mainland study area where it was described as 
'utterly miserable and the worst year on record' by 
the RSG workers concerned. Although site 
occupancy was slightly up on 1998 productivity 
was much poorer and only one set of twins fledged. 



Dumfries & Galloway 

1998 - Two pairs attempted to breed, both 
producing eggs but only one pair being successful, 
fledging a single chick. This latter success was 
due in large part to the dedicated efforts of 2 local 
RSG members who together co ordinated and 
largely carried out a nest protection scheme. At 
least one immature bird continues to be seen in a 
recently deserted territory. 



North East RSG 

occupied laid 

1998 18 15 

1999 

1998 - Eighteen pairs is now the usual number of 
birds present. No singles were reported. One 
chick was reared in each of two sites on one estate 
where persecution has been rife, probably be- 
cause both were in new eyries and so avoided 
notice and persecution. Generally a good year 



1999 - Two pairs again attempted to breed. One 
pair hatched at least one chick which disappeared 
after about a week. This was probably due to the 
severe weather in mid May but human interference 
has not been entirely discounted. The eggs at the 
other site failed to hatch, possibly due to inadvertent 
disturbance by stalkers. Discussions with the site 
managers have hopefully prevented this happening 
again in future. 

The Golden Eagle's tenure in Dumfries and 
Galloway as a breeding species remains precarious 
and every effort to enhance habitat and protect 
sites should be made. 



successful chicks fledged 

10 14(+2) 



although all the birds that use high nests failed due 
to the cold wet spring. One site seems to have 
been occupied by an old bird or pair of old birds 
for several years now and they do not appear to be 
laying eggs. 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



Highland 



1 998 - The 92 pairs monitored for breeding success 
throughout the Highland area in 1998 was much 
the same as in previous years. Records were well 
distributed across the area, with the usual tendency 
for more pairs to be checked in the west than the 
east. Comparatively few pairs were checked in 
North Lochaber ( the area between Kyle of Lochalsh 
and Fort William) compared with previous years. 
Typically, for most pairs, information was 
incomplete for the middle part of the breeding 
season, notably for the nestling period. Therefore, 
as in previous years, the results are presented to 
show ultimate breeding success figures only. A 
small number of pairs for which data on ultimate 
breeding success were either incomplete of 
uncertain have been excluded. 

The overall breeding success was substantially 
higher than the long term average. The shortage 
of records from North Lochaber. where success is 
generally quite poor, probably contributed to this. 
However, all areas tended to show relatively good 
success, especially in the west, and in both Skye 
and the Small Isles performance was conspicuously 
good. 

One clutch of 3 eggs was reported from Strathspey, 
although none of these hatched. There is continued 
evidence of human persecution at a number of 



1998 & (7999) checked fledged 



sites in the east of the region. Although the 
summer period was wetter than average, the early 
spring was comparatively mild. The latter was 
probably one factor contributing to the generally 
good breeding success reported in 1998. 

1999 - The number of pairs monitored was 
appreciably less than the usual 90 to 100 although 
records continued to be well distributed across the 
area albeit with the usual tendency for more pairs 
to be checked in the west. As in 1998, few North 
Lochaber pairs were checked and this year fewer 
than usual were visited in Wester Ross and 
Sutherland. Again, for most pairs, information 
was incomplete for the middle part of the breeding 
season, notably for the nestling period. Therefore, 
as in previous years, the results are presented to 
show ultimate breeding success figures only and 
data on a small number of pairs for which data on 
ultimate breeding success were either incomplete 
of uncertain have been excluded. 

Productivity was below the long term average and 
was generally similar across the region except in 
South Lochaber where it was low. Several failures 
were attributed to human persecution, notably in 
Strathspey where an adult and chick were found 
poisoned on the nest. This pattern is consistent 
with previous years. 



chicks fledged yng/successful pair 



NW Suth./NW Ross 


18 (8) 


10(4) 


10(4) 


1.00 (7.00) 


E Ross/E Suth/S'pey 


15 (15) 


7 (6) 


8(9) 


1.14 (1.50) 


Skye & Lochalsh 


32 (32) 


16 (75) 


24 (77) 


1.50 (1.13) 


N Lochaber 


2(1) 


0(0) 


0(0) 


0.00 (0.00) 


S Lochaber 


20 (20) 


6(5) 


8(5) 


1.33 (1.00) 


Small Isles 


5(3) 


4(2) 


5(2) 


1.25 (1.00) 


Total 


92 (79) 


43 (32) 


55 (37) 


1.26 (7.76) 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



19 



Osprey Pandion haliaetus 



1998 & (1999) 


occupied 


laid 


hatched 


successful 


chicks 












fledged 


Highland 


64 (69) 


59 (65) 


53 (56) 


47 (47) 


99 (98) 


Tayside 


41 (45) 


36 (39) 


32 (26) 


28 (25) 


61 (57) 


Rest 


25 (22) 


21 (21) 


17(77) 


17(75) 


32 (54) 



Total 130(736) 116(725) 102(99) 92 (87) 192(183) 

1998 - Highland 



1 988 was another good year for Highland Osprey s 
with a good start to the season and a record 
number of successful pairs. Sixty four pairs were 
found - 5 more than in 1997 - with one other site 
holding a single male. Egg collectors destroyed 5 
breeding attempts. Only one other nest failed to 
hatch. In the third week of May, the wind moved 
to the north east and was cold and there were 
frequent, but not heavy, rains throughout the rest 
of the season in the breeding areas. Heavy rains 
in the mountains caused high river levels which 
prevented male Ospreys catching enough fish in 
one estuary, resulting in the loss of 3 small broods. 
I The failure of 3 further broods was attributed to 
cold, wet weather. Forty seven pairs raised flying 
young (7 more than in 1997) and 99 chicks 
fledged (22 more than in 1997). There were 15 
broods of 3, 22 broods of 2 and 10 singles. 
Productivity was 1.55 young per pair with an 
eyrie, 1.68 young per pair laying eggs. Mean 
brood size was 2. 1 1. Twelve chicks were collected 
under licence by Roy Dennis for the English 
release project. All of these fledged and migrated 
successfully from Rutland Water. 

1998 - Tayside 

More pairs were located in 1998 but the final 
outcome, in terms of numbers of young fledged, 
was the same as 1997 at 61 chicks. Two new 



eyries were found on electricity pylons - there 
are now 4 such nests. One long established female 
was probably killed by another female which took 
over the site. The original bird was a 1990 chick 
from Aberdeenshire, the interloper was a 1994 
chick from Nairn. Two large chicks died when 
their nest fell out in high winds. The wind and 
rain caused other nests to fail particularly at 
hatching time. Fifty five young were colour 
ringed. 

1998 -Elsewhere 

A slow expansion continues in the north east with 
new fish ponds proposed in one part of the region 
which will probably increase the attractiveness to 
ospreys. 

One new pair was found in Argyll which had a 
markedly better season than in 1997. Several other 
summering birds were seen and 6 Argyll chicks 
were colour ringed. 

Despite 2 new pairs recorded. Central Scotland 
had a poor 1998 season. One pair failed to lay 
and another produced a single runt chick without 
proper feather growth. Two pairs used artificial 
nests. 

A number of summering birds were seen in 



20 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



Dumfries and Galloway and some stick carrying 
activity was recorded. 

1999 - Highland 

Although the numbers of occupied territories 
continued to increase in 1999 and more pairs laid 
eggs and hatched chicks than ever before, the final 
score of fledged chicks was one down on 1998. 
A severe storm on 2 1 May destroyed 2 occupied 
nests. Two other nests suffered broken eggs when 
intruding Ospreys fought with the incubating bird. 
Egg collecting accounted for 2 failures. As in 
1998 high river levels limited fishing success in 
one area and 2 broods died as a result. Other 
brood failures were also attributed to poor weather 
conditions. The Loch Garten pair tried to buck 
the trend by laying 4 eggs, although only 3 chicks 
were fledged. Forty seven pairs raised flying 
young (the same as in 1998) and 98 chicks fledged 
(99 in 1998). There were 13 broods of 3, 26 
broods of 2 and 8 singles. Productivity was 1 .42 
young per pair with an eyrie, 1 .5 1 young per pair 
which laid eggs. Mean brood size was 2.08. 
Twelve further chicks were taken under licence 
by Roy Dennis for the Rutland Water release 
project and all these fledged and migrated 
successfully. Two of the 1997 released Rutland 
males returned to summer there. 

1999-Tayside 

As in Highland site occupancy and breeding 
attempts in Tayside were up on the previous year 
but productivity was ultimately disappointing. A 
series of losses during incubation were attributed 
to poor weather in late May. Four pairs continued 
to nest on electricity pylons and a further pair used 
a lower, two pole, power line support. This nest 
was struck by lightning on 1 August, killing the 
single chick. This was the only nest to reach the 
hatch stage that failed to fledge young. Fifty one 



chicks fledged ( 10 less than in 1998). There were 
6 broods of 3, 14 broods of 2 and 5 singles. 
Productivity was 1.13 young per occupied nest. 
1.31 young per pair that laid and 2.04 per 
successful nest. 

1999 -Elsewhere 

There was little hard evidence of the hoped for 
continued expansion in the north east with fewer 
active nests found than in 1998 although some of 
these were at new sites. Failures during incubation 
and at nestling stage were attributed to poor 
weather and a male found dead at one regular site 
appeared to have suffered a collision injury. There 
were, however, pairs rumoured at a number of 
other sites and so no actual contraction of the 
regional population may have taken place. 

In South and West Scotland the populations 
remained stable with further sightings of non- 
breeding birds giving continued hope of further 
expansion. Unlike the longer established 
Highland and Tayside populations the numbers 
of fledged young increased from 1998 figures 
although 2 fledged birds are thought to have died 
before migration. Seventeen chicks were ringed. 

Satellite tracking 

A number of transmitters have been attached both 
to Rutland released ospreys and to birds from 
Scotland. These can be tracked by satellite (as 
part of the Rutland project). Much fascinating 
information has emerged. Ospreys, unlike most 
large migratory raptors, have long been thought 
to be capable of long flights over water. This 
allows a broad front migration without using 
'pinch points' like Gibraltar or the straits around 
Sicily. The satellite work has confirmed this and 
also shown the birds' ability to make long, single 
flight crossings of the western Sahara. This and 
much more of interest can be seen at 
www.ospreys.org.uk. 



7995 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



21 



Common Kestrel Falco tinnunculus 
Ayrshire study area 

1998 1999 

Number of territories checked 44 40 

Number of territories occupied 33 21 

% occupation 75 52 

Number of clutches known 25 10 

Average clutch size 54 5 

% of eggs which hatched 70 90 

Number of results known 27 17 

Average young reared per breeding pair 3 2. 76 

Average young reared per successful pair 44 4 3 

Number of breeding attempts failed 7 6 

% failed 26 35 

% brood survival 86 91 

Number of young ringed 7 1 36 

Number of adults trapped/ringed 1 3 6 



1998 - As expected, vole numbers declined from 
the 1997 peak but by no means crashed, being 
found readily at nests until the end of the season. 
Weather played a very significant role and may 
have contributed to several late breeding attempts 
with poor results. January to mid February was 
mild, dry and sunny, a "false spring" that had 
many pairs inspecting sites and even making 
scrapes. This ended with a poor spell of weather 
into March with heavy snow in March and April. 
Site occupancy was good (75%) and the first egg 
was laid on 1 1 April, two weeks later than 1997. 
The early start to the season produced a long 
period between display/site inspection and laying 
- in 5 cases as long as 3 months. These birds may 
have lost condition after the early stall and nested 
late after recovering with - ultimately - poor 
productivity. Nevertheless overall productivity 
was above average though not approaching 1 997 ' s 
record figures. 



Thirteen of the known first egg laying dates were 
in April. 7 in May, the latest being on 15 May. 
Mean clutch sizes (5.1) were down from 1997 
with 6 hens laying 6 eggs (8 in 1997).The hatching 
rate was also reduced. 

Thirteen adults were trapped under licence and all 
hens (11) except one weighed over 290g. The 
exception (229g) - a first year bird - reared only 
one chick. Four of the captured birds were retraps: 
one hen on the same territory as 1 997 ; one adjacent 
to the territory from which it fledged in 1997; one 
18 km. from its 1997 natal site; one - the most 
interesting - 2 territories from where it was ringed 
as a breeding adult in 1992. 

Of the 7 failures, one was at pre laying stage, 4 
during incubation and 2 during the brood period. 
Three failures were due to desertion in poor 
weather, one was due to egg collecting and 2 were 



22 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



for reasons unknown. Brood survival was high - 
as is usual. 

A bird ringed as a chick in 1 995 at the Ardeer ICI 
plant was found dead at Cumnock nearly 3 years 
later and 37 km from its natal site. 

1999 - Productivity hinged on 2 factors, a dearth 
of voles which was apparent until well into July 
and a critical spell of very bad weather from 5-26 
April. One pair which laid early did persist 
through this period but territory occupation was 
very low at 52% and at least 5 pairs which had 
been well settled left their without laying. Once 
this bad spell was over the weather was dry and 
sunny for a few weeks and the remaining pairs 
began to breed. The mixed weather which followed 
did not adversely affect breeding and those pairs 
which eventually laid were very successful and on 
a par with the 1998 results. Several nest boxes 
were lost during the severe weather on Boxing 
Day and some conifer belts were flattened. 



The first laid egg was in a lowland site on 8 April, 
the remaining pairs laying between 27 April and 
3 May, a very narrow time band but indicative of 
pairs starting to lay as soon as the weather 
improved. Only 2 hens laid clutches of 6 (6 in 
1998; 18 in 1997). Hatching rate was exceptionally 
high at 90%. 

Very few adults were trapped due to the low 
numbers of breeding pairs found, one hen was 
caught in the same territory for the third year in 
succession and another was caught in the same 
breeding territory as in 1998. Six hens averaged 
295g, well within 'good condition' limits. 

Six pairs failed, 5 at pre laying stage during the 
bad weather, the other for an unknown reason. 
The pairs which did breed had a successful season. 
Mean clutch size was high (5.0). Ninety per cent 
of eggs hatched and brood survival was also 90%. 

One bird ringed as a nestling in the Carrick Forest 
in 1998 was found dead under powerlines on 
Newtonmore Golf course in March 1999. 




1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



Highland 

The most complete Kestrel data for Highland came from Easter Ross and East Sutherland study areas 
in both 1998 and 1999 and these are shown below. 



All are from nest box sites. 

pairs laid 



hatched fledged chicks Mean Mean 

fledged clutch (n) brood (n) 



1998 

E Ross 

E Sutherland 



4.8 (6) 
5.0(6) 



4.3 (6) 
4.2 (5) 



1999 

E. Ross 

E Sutherland 



24 
7 



5.1 (6) 
4.0(3) 



4.8 (5) 
3.5 (2) 



Argyll 

1998 - on SW Mull at least 10 successful pairs 
were located and the 5 pairs for which fledging 
information was obtained reared approximately 
18 young. A pair located on Colonsay is thought 
to have failed. On Cowal. where numbers of voles 
were falling following a 1 997 peak, 26 nests were 



located (Glenbranter study area and elsewhere) 
and the monitored pairs that were successful 
continued to have a high productivity fledging a 
minimum of 70 young. Two successful pairs were 
monitored on Bute. 



Territories 
Occupied 



Territories 
known to have 
fledged young 



Min no of 
young fledged 



No of young per 
successful territory 



SW Mull 

Colonsay 

Cowal 

Bute 



10 
1 

26 



18 

70 
7 



3.6 


5.0 

3.5 



Total 



39 



21 



95 



1999 - data were less complete than for 1998 (and have not been tabulated) but monitoring revealed 
much lower numbers of birds with very low vole numbers across wide areas of Argyll. 



24 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



Merlin Falco columbarius 

Central 

In both 1998 and in 1999 3 pairs were recorded but no results were obtained. 



Tayside 



1998 & (1999) 

Perthshire 
Angus 

Total 



checked 

39 (42) 
22 (28) 

61 (70) 



occupied 

22 (23) 
12 (12) 

32 (35) 



fledged 

12+ (8[+4?]) 
9(9) 

21 (171+4"]) 



chicks fledged 

40+ (25+) 
26+ (30+) 

66+ (55+) 



1998 - In Perthshire fewer territories were 
checked than in previous years. Despite the 
weather there was a higher production of young 
per successful pair than in recent years. Five pairs 
not checked through to fledging would almost 
certainly have been successful. A number of 
territories appeared not to have been occupied in 
Glen Lyon (this is also true for Peregrine 
territories) but this area has a number of 
treenesting pairs which may have been more 
difficult to locate. The Angus the breeding season 
was again very wet - the wettest on record. 
Several sites which are usually successful failed, 
with some not being occupied at all. This was 
partly offset by the finding of 2 new (successful) 
sites. Brood depletion was also higher than usual. 
Seven broods were colour ringed. One pair re 
laid and raised a brood of 2. 



1999 - In Perthshire extremely bad April weather 
seemed to affect some areas more than others. 
Breeding pairs were scarce in West Perthshire 
especially Farragon, East Rannoch and Glen Lyon. 
There also appeared to be a lack of prey, in 
particular Meadow Pipits, in these areas in late 
April and May. In Angus the 1999 season was 
one of the most successful since monitoring began 
in 1983 with the most fledged young since 1990 
and the second best since 1994. Losses at 
successful sites of 2 to 3 years ago are balance by 
new successful sites. One site failed at chick stage 
due to Fox predation. 



South Strathclyde Dumfries & Galloway 



1998 & (1999) 

S. Strath. 
D&G 



checked 

26 (17) 
31 (16) 



occupied 

17 (9) 
18 (73) 



successful 

5 (/) 
6(70) 



chicks fledged 

11+ (/ + ) 
17+ (22+) 



Total 



57 (33) 



35 (22) 



11 (//) 



28+ (23+) 



7995 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



25 



1998 - The extra effort of the Hen Harrier survey 
produced a reduced effort on Merlins. There is 
certainly an unknown number of additional pairs 
and the outcome at many known sites was not 
discovered. The species continues to be rather 
scarce in the region and largely confined to heather 
moors and a few suitable forest edges with 
adjacent moorland. 



1999 - This species is difficult to census and 
Dumfries and Galloway group workers record 
breeding outcome in only a few areas. Generally 
the population appears to be low but stable 
following the declines that resulted from 
afforestation. In Galloway a much reduced 
population breeds in a few places around the forest 
edge where there is sufficient productive moorland 
nearby. 



occupied successful chicks fledged 

5 2 7 

5 3 [4'] 7112*1 



Argyll 

checked 

1998 9 

1999 7 

* includes a brood of 5, 10/14 days old at last visit 

1998 - Four previously regular sites were 
apparently vacant in 1998 and evidence of 
occupation was established in only 5 areas 
including Mull, Colonsay, Islay and Cowal. A 
few additional sightings of adults in the breeding 
season were reported from suitable breeding 
habitat during the course of other field work but 
no follow up searches were possible. 



1999 - On Mull birds were reported from 4 
separate areas in the breeding season (more than 
usual) and included one pair where 10 to 14 day 
old chicks were present on the last visit. A bird 
was reported in a suitable location on Jura. In 
Mid Argyll birds were absent from on regularly 
used site but a bird was seen in a new suitable 
area. A Knapdale pair were on territory but the 
nest was not found. One Kintyre site was 
seemingly vacant and a second pair fledged 2 to 
3 young. In Cowal 2 new successful pairs were 
found. 



North East 



1998 & (7999) checked occupied laid hatched fledged chicks fledged 

Lower Deeside 21 10 (8) 10 (8) 8(7) 8(6) 24(13) 

Mid/upper Deeside 26* 10 (77) 10 (77) 9(70) 9(9) 31(30) 

Donside/Moray 41* 20 (18) 17(78) 12(75) 10(7-7) 38 (46) 

Total 88 40(37) 37(37) 29(32) 21(29) 93(89) 



*partial coverage 



26 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



1998 - full coverage was achieved in Lower 
Deeside with the rate of occupation and success 
matching that of recent seasons. There were some 
brood reductions associated with heavy rain late 
in the season. 

In Mid and Upper Deeside there was only partial 
coverage. Site occupation was low in the Braemar 
area but occupied sites did well and there was very 
good breeding success elsewhere. 

Some parts of Donside and Moray were only 
partly covered. Site occupation was patchy in 
Donside and overall success was only average due 
to poor weather. Persecution was again suspected 
at one Donside estate where some sites have had 
birds present every year - but only first year males 
- and one site has young every year but none have 
fledged since 1990. 



1999 - Lower Deeside had full coverage which 
found the lowest number of birds breeding there 
since the study began 20 years ago. Some brood 
reduction was noted. 

In Mid and Upper Deeside there was partial 
coverage with a similar pattern to 1998 with low 
occupancy in the Braemar area but good 
productivity from active sites, especially in Mid 
Deeside. 

In Donside and Moray there was almost full 
coverage of the areas normally monitored. 
Occupation was patchy being poor in Mid 
Donside and Cabrach but an increase was noted 
in Upper Donside. One new site was found and 
active sites had good breeding success. 



Shetland 

checked occupied laid hatched fledged chicks fledged 

1998 34 17 15 13 12 36+ 

1999 33 14 13 12 11 27+ 



Coverage of Merlins in Shetland has been less complete in the 1990s than during the 1980s but it 
would appear that there has been a steady decline since 1996 with reductions noted in both core and 
peripheral areas. 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



27 



Lothian & Borders 



1998 H1999) 


checked 


occupied 


hatched 


fledged 


min. chicks fledged 


Lammermuirs 


30 (30) 


16 (75) 


7(6) 


5 (4) 


20(72) 


Moorfoots 


10 (10) 


4 (J) 


3 (2) 


2(2) 


7 (6) 


S. of Tweed 


7(5) 


5 (3) 


3 (2) 


3 (2) 


9(6) 


Pentlands 


-(70+) 


4(6) 


1 (4) 


0(4) 


0(9) 


Other 


2 (2) 


0(0) 


0(0) 


0(0) 


0(0) 


Total 


49 (57+) 


29 (25) 


14 (7-7) 


10(72) 


36 (33) 



1998 - Some briefly glorious early spring weather 
raised hopes of a good breeding season for Merlins 
this year. These were dashed when the weather 
turned poor and remained so throughout most of 
April, May, June and July. April was reported as 
the wettest this century. Breeding success was 
undoubtedly adversely affected by cold, wet 
weather and poor visibility. Overall success was 
markedly down in all areas compared with the 
1997 season. 

In the Lammermuirs. although there was evidence 
of early occupation at 16 sites, only 9 definitely 
reached the egg stage (2 pairs may have laid and 
quickly failed) and the others appeared deserted 
before egg laying was likely. Five nests had 5 
eggs and 4 laid 4. Only 5 pairs managed to raise 
young (20) to ringing age. 



It was one of the poorest years on record in the 
Moorfoots with only 4 sites certainly occupied. 
One clutch failed to hatch and another failed at 
the small young stage. The 2 others were last 
visited when the nests contained 2 and 5 small 
chicks respectively. 

South of the Tweed 5 occupied sites were located 
and 4 were known to lay - each with 4 eggs. The 
fifth pair formed a scrape but did not seem to get 
any further. Lack of signs and sightings suggests 
that one nest probably failed. The remaining 3 
nests were seen to contain 4, 3 and 2 young 
respectively. The brood of 3 were ringed but the 
others were not revisited beyond 10 days old. 

Two other sites in the west of the area were 
checked but found not to be occupied. 



Two of the failed pairs had small young disappear 
and 2 failed to hatch. At one of the latter the 
female was found long dead by the nest. She had 
not been predated. After the season an adult male 
was found long dead in a crow trap within about 
4kmof this nest, conceivably the mate of the dead 
female who may have starved on the nest. 

In the Pentlands full details are not available but 
it is understood that there were breeding attempts, 
none of which succeeded. 



1999 - this year saw a third poor year in a recent 
run of such years (1996, 1998 and 1999) with the 
fewest successful nests and the lowest number of 
chicks in the Lammermuir and Moorfoot parts of 
the study area since monitoring began. Most 
worrying was the low levels of early season site 
occupancy (other than in the Pentlands) which 
suggest an underlying population decline rather 
than a series of individual seasons with poor 
productivity. This begs the question, are declining 
farmland bird numbers affecting Merlin winter 



28 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



survival rates? Continued monitoring is essential 
in order to try and answer this question. 

The Lammermuirs were characterised by low- 
occupancy with some "occupied" sites holding 
only single birds for a brief period. Only 8 sites 
definitely laid and 2 of these failed before 
hatching. At one the female was killed at the nest, 
probably by a Stoat. Stoats were also suspected 
of predating 2 broods. The 12 chicks ringed from 
only 4 successful nests were the fewest ever 
recorded for the area by the study. 

In the Moorfoots coverage was somewhat patchy 
but still revealed a low level of site occupancy 



with previously used areas confirmed as 
unoccupied. The outcome at one occupied site is 
unknown and only 2 sites were known to raise 
young. 

South of the Tweed of the 5 sites checked only 2 
certainly raised chicks. Success was not 
confirmed for a third site still in use in mid May. 
In contrast with other areas and previous years 
good occupancy was recorded in the Pentlands. 
At least 6 sites laid (4 clutches of 4 and 2 of 3), 
one in a tree nest. The clutches of 3 both failed 
but all others at least reached large brood stage 
with the tree site confirmed to fledge. 



Orkney 

checked occupied laid hatched successful chicks fledged 

1998 58 20 17 12 9 c.32 

1999 57 17 14 10 10 c.30 



1998 - All 58 known sites were checked. Ten 
were found occupied in the West Mainland, one 
on Rousay and 9 on Hoy. At one of these 20 sites 
the birds are known not to have laid, at another 
no nest was ever found but the site was definitely 
unsuccessful while at a third, the scrape was not 
found until after the eggs had apparently been 
predated. Eggs were thus confirmed at 17 sites, 
the mean clutch size being 3.8. There were a 
further 5 failures at egg stage but chicks were 
hatched at 6 West Mainland and 6 Hoy sites, the 
mean brood size at this stage being 4.3 (n = 11 ). 
Three broods were lost to predators (a Short-eared 
Owl being implicated at one) but the remaining 3 
sites in the West Mainland and 6 on Hoy were 
successful. 



1999 - Fifty seven sites were checked with 9 found 
occupied on the West Mainland, one on Rousay 
and 7 on Hoy. At least 14 sites had eggs and a 
further 2 may have laid before failure. All 10 
sites that hatched are also thought to have fledged. 

Highland 

1998 - Although information was received from 
5 1 territories, only 26 sites were followed through 
all stages of the breeding cycle. Breeding success 
differed significantly from area to area. Pairs in 
West Moray, Nairn, and Badenoch and Strathspey 
had a relatively good breeding season, despite 
continuous rainy weather during the summer. 
Although continuous, the rainfall was generally 
light in nature and did not seem to impair the 
Merlins' ability to obtain enough prey for 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



29 



199R & ( /999i 


L. 1 ICC I\ \- LJ 


ULt UUltU 


lliH 
laiU 


hatched 


fledged 


chicks fledged 


Bad /Strath 




— 


- V"! 


- i - ) 


-(C) 


7 (0) 


W Moray/Nairn 


17(77) 


8(7) 


7(7) 


7(-) 


7 (6) 


24 (27) 


Caith/Suth 


16(54) 


16 (79) 


13 (77) 


11 (-) 


6 (70) 


12 (32) 


EAV Ross 


2(7) 


1 (7) 


( / 1 




U (I ) 


U (-/) 


Inverness 


12 (77) 


2(5) 


1 (7) 


u/k (-) 


u/k (7) 


u/k (2) 


Skye 


-CO 


-(1) 


-(/) 


-(-) 


-(/) 


-(5) 


Total 


51 (64) 


29 (33) 


23 (27) 


20(-) 


14 (79) 


43 (62) 



successful breeding. Nine out of 10 pairs which 
laid eggs, successfully fledged young giving a 
fledging rate of 3.4 per young per successful nest 
which was just below the ten year average for the 
area. (In comparison, heavy torrential rainfall 
during the crucial fledging period in 1997 resulted 
in Merlins in the same area having the poorest 
ever breeding success recorded). 

Approximately 50% of breeding sites checked in 
West Moray, Nairn, and Badenoch and Strathspey 
during 1998 were unoccupied. Most of these sites 
were located in West Moray. The reasons for this 
low occupancy are difficult to understand for some 
formerly regularly occupied territories. At least 
one site appears to have been affected by 
surrounding moorland being lost to now maturing 
forestry. Two other regularly occupied sites may 
also have been affected by planting of trees on 
site in recent years. 

Some other sites checked were not core sites but 
are irregularly occupied and generally only used 
in peak years. This may be due to lack of territorial 
males in some years, as it is thought to be males 
that hold the sites. 

Further north in Sutherland, Merlins had a 
relatively poor breeding season with 50% of the 
pairs followed through failing to breed 
successfully. Breeding success, as measured y 
successful nests, was well below average and 



when measured by the number of pairs laying 
eggs, gave a mean of only 1 .0 young per pair, 
which was less than half the 10 year average for 
the area (2.2 young per pair). Three pairs failed 
at the egg stage (remains of one female werefound 
near the nest). Three failed at small young stage 
(young were known to be predated at one nest). 
Although reasons for failure were unknown at 
some nests, predation would appear to be a likely 
factor. 

Only 2 sites were checked in Ross reflecting a 
lack of observers in this area which contains much 
suitable habitat. Only one site was occupied and 
the pair subsequently failed to breed successfully. 
Twelve breeding sites were checked in Inverness- 
shire, far more than has hitherto be usual. Two 
sites were definitely occupied. Single males were 
seen at 2 sites. Signs of occupancy were found at 
2 other sites. Approximately 45% of breeding 
sites checked were unoccupied. 

1999 - Thirty three sites were found occupied by 
pairs. Records from a further 5 sites were not 
complete enough for inclusion in the totals. 

In west Moray only 36% of sites were occupied, 
though many of these are not regularly occupied. 
In Inverness 50% of sites were unoccupied. It is 
thought that excessive burning for grouse 
management contributes to this low occupancy. 
Early season weather was poor with much rain but 



30 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



this was mostly light and does not seem to have 
affected clutch size or incubation. Improved 
weather during the critical fledging period meant 
that successful pairs had a fairly productive season. 
From the 14 sites where clutch size was known a 
mean of 4.0 eggs per nest was at the upper end of 
the usual range. . Overall a mean of 3.2chicksper 
successful nest was near the Highland long term 
average. Nine nest failures were recorded, 5 of 
these attributed to predation. 



Monitoring effort was substantially improved in 
Sutherland and continues to be much better in 
Inverness. Nevertheless Inverness-shire could 
still do with more Merlin workers and Ross-shire 
is very short of coverage with much of the county 
appearing very suitable for the species. 




7995 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



Peregrine Falcon Falco peregrinus 

Central Scotland 

checked occupied pairs occupied single successful chicks fledged 

1998 36 26 3 19 39+ 

1999 32 25 2 12 30+ 



1998 - Although the general perception is that the 
1998 summer was a poor one, the weather did not 
break until towards the end of May by which time 
most young Peregrines were past the early, 
vulnerable stage. Thus weather conditions in the 
incubation and early fledgling periods were 
favourable for the Peregrine in 1998, even if not 
for some other species. 



Tayside 



1998 (7999) 

Perth W of A9 
Perth E of A9 
Angus 

Total 



1998 - There was a noticeable lack of success on 
some grouse moor estates and 1 998 was considered 
overall to be a poorer year than normal. 



1999 - There appear to have been problems - some 
at least being persecution related - in the south of 
the Group's area. The apparent drop in occupancy 
was offset to some extent by the appearance of a 
"new" - probably hitherto undiscovered - site in 
the middle of the area. 



chicks fledged 

42+ (28) 
1 1+ (79+) 
30(77) 

83+ (58+) 



1999 - There was concern that Peregrines are 
showing a decline in Tayside particularly in the 
west and north of the area. Fewer immature birds 
were recorded around territories during the season. 



checked 



37 (34) 
19 (20) 
35 (25) 



91 (79) 



occupied 

26 (23) 
17 (77) 
26 (27) 



69 (61) 



fledged 

18(72) 
1(8) 
-(-) 

-(-) 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



South Strathclyde and Dumfries & Galloway 

1998 (1999) checked occupied laid fledged no. chicks 

fledged 

S.Strath coast 9(9) 6(7) 4(6) 4(4) 10+ (10+) 

S Strath inland 30 (32) 13 (18) 13 (14) 8 (7) 22+ (75) 

S.Strath Total 39 (41) 19(25) 17(20) 12 (77) 32+ (25+) 

D&GCoast 28(32) 24(22) 22 (18) 18(7-7) 33+ (29 ?+) 

D&G inland 69(76) 52(56) 48(53) 35(37) 16+ (64?+) 

D & G Total 97 ( 108) 16(78) 70 ( 77 ) 53 (45) 1 09+ ( 93 ?+ ) 

Total 136(749) 95(703) 87(97) 65(56) 141+ (775+) 



1998 - Peregrines in South West Scotland have 
produced more young than ever recorded before 
(the previous best year being 1997). Coverage 
was again generally very good with occupation 
being about 'normal', which indicates that the 
anticipated reduction in pairs (perhaps associated 
with pigeon interests) in south Ayrshire has not 
occurred. Having said that, one or 2 grouse moor 
sites in East Ayrshire and Upper Nithsdale which 
became active in recent years have since ceased to 
be occupied due to persistent persecution. 



Shetland 

checked occupied laid 

1998 8 1 1 

1999 8 

There is now less coverage of Peregrines than 
during the 1980s but sufficient to confirm that 
the species is close to extinction as a breeding 
bird in Shetland. Since 1995 successful 



1999 - Peregrines continued to do well in the i 
south west and the population now appears to be ; 
largely stable although there may be some room 
for further expansion in the east of the area. 
Persecution now appears to almost entirely 
confined to grouse moors in East Ayrshire and 
Upper Nithsdale and to one or 2 pigeon racing j 
valleys in East Ayrshire. The taking of eggs and 
chicks has reduced, although some of this still j 
does occur. There is, however, a widespread j 
feeling in the Groups that prey availability in early 
spring is reduced. If this proves to be true it may \ 
yet bring about a reduction in breeding numbers, f 



fledged chicks fledged 

1 4 


breeding has been recorded in only 2 years with 
single pairs nesting successfully in 1996 and 
1998. 



hatched 
1 




1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



Argyll 

1998 (1999) Checked occupied successful chicks fledged 

Cowal 16 (19) 1 1 (14) 7 (2) 17 (5) 

Other areas" 26(9) 21(9) 7(9) 16(72+) 

Total 42 (28) 32(23) 14(77) 33 (77+) 
incomplete survey 



The Cowal is shown separately because it is the 
only area where systematic Peregrine monitoring 
is carried out. 

1998 - the overall productivity of all monitored 
sites was considerably better than in 1997 and on 
the Cowal it was judged to be the best year since 
the study began. The 4 failed sites on the Cowal 
all occurred at the egg/small young stage. An 
adult female found dead below a nest site on Bute 
was thought to have died from natural causes. 



1999 - As is usually the case, with the exception 
of the of the well worked study area on the Cowal, 
the monitored sites were widely scattered and 
coverage was far from complete. A certain amount 
of incomplete data were obtained at a number of 
other sites not included in the table. There was a 
very poor season on the Cowal. Five sites used in 
recent years had no birds present. Ten failures of 
occupied sites were at egg/small young stage and 
data were incomplete for the 2 remaining sites. 



Highland 



1998 & (7999) 


checked 


occupied 


laid 


hatched 


fledged 


min. i 














fledgi 


Caithness 


0(0) 


- (-) 


- (-) 


- (-) 


- (-) 


- (-) 


N&W Suth. 


3 (3) 


3(3) 


3 (3) 


3 (7) 


3 (/) 


5(2) 


W Ross 


2 (0) 


1 (-) 


1 (-) 


1 (-) 


1 (-) 


2(-) 


E Suth. 


1(3) 


6(2) 


5 (7) 


4(7) 


4(7) 


7 (3) 


E Ross 


6(7/57) 


6(4) 


6(3) 


4(2) 


4(2) 


5 (5) 


E Inverness 


8 (4) 


8(3) 


6(3) 


5 (3) 


5 (2) 


9(4) 


Bad & Strath 


1 (3) 


1 (2) 


0(2) 


- (7) 


-(7) 


-(1) 


Moray & Nairn 


2 (1) 


2 (7) 


2(7) 


2(0) 


2 (0) 


5 


Small Isles 


1 (7) 


1 (7) 


1 (?) 


1 (?) 


1 (?) 


2 (?) 


Lochaber 


0(7) 


-(0) 


- (-) 


- (-) 


- (-) 


- (-) 


Total 


30 (23) 


28 (16) 


24(73) 


20 (8) 


20(7) 


35 (7 



34 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



1998 - in addition to the 28 sites found occupied 
one other site held a single bird. Only 4 of the 24 
pairs known to lay failed during incubation. All 
20 pairs that hatched young were ultimately 
successful. Productivity figures, overall, indicate 
an average year despite the poor weather in June. 
Some nests were not followed through to fledging 
and this caused problems with calculating 
productivity. The small sample size for some 
areas also continues to be a problem. The overall 
productivity recorded was a mean of 1.3 chicks 
per territorial pair. 1 .5 per pair that laid and 1.8 per 
successful pair. 



Lothian and Borders 

checked occupied 

1998 49 39 

1999 58 44 

1 998 - 93 fledged young is the most ever recorded, 
although mean brood size is down. New sites 
continue to be found and there is currently little 
evidence of thefts. 



Orkney 

checked occupied laid 

1998 27 16 7+ 

1999 21 14 6(7+?) 

1998 - Information was more than usually 
incomplete in 1998 but sufficient monitoring was 
carried out through the season to confirm that at 
least 1 chicks fledged. 

1 999 - A good deal was found out about the extent 
of site occupancy but monitoring was less intensive 
in the later stages of the season. A single bird was 



1 999 - whilst there was some decrease in the level 
of monitoring in 1998 there was also a more 
worrying decrease in site occupancy. Pairs were 
absent from 43% of the sites checked and no 
occupancy by single birds was detected. It is 
suspected that the underlying cause is a decline in 
prey availability. Some failures were unexplained, 
in particular a fully incubated clutch that failed to 
hatch. Other post laying failures had more obvious 
causes with one case of egg collecting, an eyrie in 
a ravens nest washed out by heavy rain and a 
brood of large chicks predated by a Pine Marten. 
Productivity was therefore poor overall at a mean 
of 0.94 chicks per territorial pair but good amongst 
the relatively few (7) successful pairs at 2.14 
chicks per pair. 



successful chicks fledged 

30 93 
29 83 

1 999 - the population continues to expand with 5 
new sites found in 1999 although productivity 
was less than in 1998. Human interference is still 
detected - at 3 nests - but most failures appeared 
to be natural. Coastal sites had a good year. 



hatched fledged chicks fledged 

7+ 5+ 10+ 

6(7+) 1+ 1 + 

present at one otherwise unoccupied site. Although 
the single confirmed fledgling is probably an I 
underestimate of the local productivity the overall 
impression was one of a poor season (for instance 
no young are thought to have emerged from any i 
of the 6 occupied Mainland sites). 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



35 



North East 



unoccupied 
(% all sites) 



occupied 
(% occupied 
sites) 



laid 

(% occupied 
sites) 



fledged 

(% occupied 

sites) 



min young 
fledged 



1998 

Grouse Moor 
Other Inland 
Coast 



23 (45%) 
10(26%) 
5 (24%) 



28 (55%) 
28 (74%) 
16 (76%) 



15 (54%; 
22 (79% 
12 (75% 



4 ( 14%) 
17 (60%) 

5 (31%) 



7 

35+ 
9+ 



Total 



38 (35%) 



72 (65% ) 



49 (68%) 



25 (35%.) 



49+ 



7999 

Grouse Moor 
Other Inland 
Coast 



21 (48%) 
7 (21%) 
2 (11%) 



23 (52%) 
26 (79%) 
17(89%) 



11 (48%) 
15 (58%) 
8 (47%) 



18 
38 
15 



Total 



30(31%.) 66(69%) 



34 (52%) 



'I 



1998 - inland grouse moor sites 

At grouse moor sites occupancy declined further 
and productivity was extremely low - 0.25 young 
fledging per occupied site. Young fledged on only 
3 grouse estates with 1.75 young fledging per 
successful nest. This is linked to continued high 
levels of persecution. Poisoned baits were found 
at 3 eyries with adults known to have disappeared 
from another 9 sites. This part of the population 
is not rearing enough young to be self sustaining. 
Unless persecution pressure is significantly 
reduced, this part of the Peregrine population will 
continue to decline. 

1998 - other inland sites 

Other inland sites were much more successful 
withl.25+ young fledging per occupied site and 
occupancy of 74%. the highest level for 2 years. 
This part of the population continues to expand 
with 2 new sites being confirmed in 1998, 
although the rate of occupancy of new sites is 



believed to be depressed by the low productivity 
of the population as a whole. 

Higher eyries (above 600m altitude) all failed in 
the poor weather although adults were observed 
at all of the sites checked (3) with breeding 
attempted in at least 2 sites. Deer forest pairs had 
reasonable success. Eight pairs reared 15 young 
(1.88 young fledged per occupied site ) out of 1 1 
occupied sites (1.36 fledged young per occupied 
site). This is the most productive section of the 
population. The remaining sites were associated 
with either farm land or forestry. Fourteen 
occupied sites produced 15 young (1.07 fledged 
young per occupied site) from 4 successful pairs 
( 1 .88 young per successful site). 

1998 - coastal sites 

Site occupancy increased with 4 new pairs located. 
Three were in new sites; the fourth involved a 
territory being split between 2 pairs. Productivity 
was low (0.68 fledged young per occupied site) 



36 



1998 & 1999 Raptor Round Up 



with only 5 pairs out of 16 occupying sites 
fledging young (1.80 fledged young per 
successful site). Terrible weather in early April 
was involved in 2 and possibly more of the 
failures. 

1999 - inland grouse moor sites 

The year saw an improvement on some grouse 
moor sites so that, although occupancy showed a 
slight decline, productivity at occupied sites was 
much higher than of late. This is due to Operation 
Falcon, a joint Grampian Police/SNH/RSG 
initiative in conjunction with some local estates. 
Peregrines consistently failed to occupy sites or 
breed successfully on 14 other estates not involved 
in the initiative, a high level of failure linked 
directly to persecution. A worrying trend is the 
lack of adult Peregrines to replace lost birds. In 
former years adult birds were quickly replaced. 
This is no longer the case. The decrease in 
occupied sites - a decline from 79% to 52% in 5 
years - is an indication of the lack of a large non 
breeding population. 



1999 - other inland sites 

Site occupancy (79%) was greater than on grouse 
moors (52%) and breeding success was higher 
with 58% of occupied sites fledging young. Five 
sites at higher altitude in deer forest suffered the 
effects of bad weather and only 2 pairs fledged 
young, both in north facing corries. Eight lower 
deer forest sites performed similarly to 1998 with 
7 pairs producing 15 chicks (eight pairs/15 chicks 
in 1 998 ). Quarry sites did well with 5 pairs raising 
1 3 young. Inland sites off grouse moors continue 
to be the most productive element of the north east 
population. 

1999 - coastal sites 

No new sites were located. Success was very low 
on the north coast (only one chick fledged from 
eight occupied sites). By contrast east coast pairs 
did better (7 pairs from 9 occupied sites produced 
at least 14 young). The reason for this difference 
is not apparent. 




Crispin Fisher 



The Scottish Ornithologists' Club was formed in 1936 to encourage all aspects of ornithology in 
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own programme of field meetings and winter lectures. The Waterston Library at the Club's headquarters 
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Published by The SOC, 21 Regent Terrace, Edinburgh EH7 5BT 

Printed by Meigle Printers Ltd., Block 1 1 , Units 1 & 2, Tweedbank Industrial Estate, 

Galashiels TD1 3RS 



SCOTTISH BIRDS 



THE JOURNAL OF THE 
SCOTTISH ORNITHOLOGISTS' CLUB 




Volume 23 
2002 

Editor 
Dr S da Prato 
Index prepared by Dr M A Ogilvie 

Editorial Panel 

Dr I Bainbridge, Professor D Jenkins, Dr M Marquiss, Dr J B Nelson 

and R Swann 

ISSN 0036 9144 



SCOTTISH BIRDS 
Contents of Volume 23 2002 



Accipiter nisus, see Sparrowhawk, Eurasian 

Anderson, B & Nelson. JB, mass deaths of Northern Gannet, 49 

Andrews, IJ & Naylor, KA, records of species and subspecies recorded in Scotland on up to 20 occasions, 61-116 
Aquila chrysaetos, see Eagle, Golden 
Ardea cinerea, see Heron. Grey 
Asio flammeus, see Owl, Short-eared 

Booth, CJ, Common Ravens breeding for the first time at 5 years old, 46-47; some hazards of barbed wire as a nesting 

material, 53 
Broad, RA, see Whitfield, P 

Brooke, M de L. Douse, A, Haysom, S, Jones, FC & Nicholson, A, the Atlantic Puffin population of the Shiant Islands, 
2000, 22-26 

Bundy, G, Fulmars nesting in man made ditch, 50 

Carduelis spinus l see Siskin 

Circus cyaneus, see Harrier, Hen 

Clarke, J, see Jardine, DC 

Clarke, PM, see Jardine, DC 

Colonsay and Oronsay, seabird numbers, 2000 

Corvus c. corone, see Crow, Carrion 

Con'us corax, see Raven, Common 

Corvus fnigilegus, see Rook 

Corvus monedula, see Jackdaw 

Crow, Carrion, scavenging upon Salmon carcasses during the spawning season, 27-31; using barbed wire in nest. 53 
Dickson, RC, talon grappling and aggressive interactions by Merlins in winter, 47-48; Hen Harrier's sunning behav- 
iour in summer and winter, 48-49 
Douse, A, see Brooke, M de L 

Eagle, Golden, are reintroduced White-tailed Eagles in competition with them?, 36-45 
Eagle. White-tailed, are reintroduced birds in competition with Golden Eagles?. 36-45 
Evans, RJ, see Whitfield, P 
Falco columbarius, see Merlin 

Fieldfares, winter site fidelity in south west Scotland, 50-52 
Fielding, AH. see Whitfield, P 
Forrester, BC. obituary. 55-56 
Fratercula arctica, see Puffin, Atlantic 

Fulmar, nesting in man made ditch, 50; killed by barbed wire in nest, 53 
Fulmarus glacialis. see Fulmar 
Gannet, Northern, mass deaths, 49 

Gull, Greater Black-backed, scavenging upon Salmon carcasses during the spawning season, 27-31 

Gulls, drowning Short-eared Owl, 54 

Haliaeetus albicilla, see Eagle, White-tailed 

Harrier, Hen. sunning behaviour in summer and winter, 48-49 

Haworth, PF, see Whitfield, P 

Haysom, S, see Brooke, M de L 

Heron. Grey, scavenging upon Salmon carcasses during the spawning season, 27-31 
Hewson, R, scavenging by birds upon Salmon carcasses during the spawning season, 27-31 
Hilton, A. obituary, 55 

Hood, D, female Eurasian Sparrowhawk caching prey, 53 

How, J, see Jardine, DC 

Jackdaw, using barbed wire in nest, 53 

Jackson, D, see O'Brien, M 

Jardine, DC, How, J, Clarke, J & Clarke, PM, seabirds on Colonsay and Oronsay. Inner Hebrides, 1-9 

Jones, FC, see Brooke. M de L 

Larus marinus, see Gull, Greater Black-backed 

Lyndon. AR & Wilkinson. TW, drowning of Short-eared Owl by gulls, 54 
Madders, M, see Whitfield, P 

McGhie. H, numbers of Siskins in relation to the size of the Scots Pine cone crop, 32-35 
McLeod. DRA, see Whitfield, P 



Merlin, talon grappling and aggressive interactions in winter. 47-48 

Moms bassanus, see Gannet. Northern 

Mylne, C. winter nesting Tawny Owl in West Lothian, 46 

Naylor, KA, see Andrews, IJ 

Nicholson, A, see Brooke. M de L 

Obituaries: A Hilton, 55; BC Forrester, 55-56; ID Pennie. 57-58 

O'Brien, M, Tharme. A. & Jackson, D, changes in breeding wader numbers on Scottish farmed land during the 1 990s. 
10-21 

Owl, Short-eared, drowned by gulls, 54 

Owl, Tawny, winter nesting in West Lothian, 46 

Patterson, DJ & Wells, LJ. winter site fidelity of Fieldfares in south west Scotland, 50-52 
Pennie, ID, obituary, 57-58 

Puffin, Atlantic, population of the Shiant Islands, 2000, 22-26 

Raven, Common, breeding for the first time at 5 years old, 46-47; using barbed wire in nest, 53 

Rook, using barbed wire in nest, 53 

Seabirds, on Colonsay and Oronsay, Inner Hebrides. 1-9 

Shiant Islands, the Atlantic Puffin population, 2000, 22-26 

Siskin, numbers in relation to the size of the Scots Pine cone crop. 32-35 

Sparrowhawk, Eurasian female caching prey, 53 

Strix aluco, see Owl, Tawny 

Tharme, A, see O'Brien, M 

Turdus pilaris, see Fieldfare 

Waders, changes in breeding numbers on Scottish farmed land during the 1990s, 10-21 

Whitfield, P, Evans, RJ, Broad. RA, Fielding, AH. Haworth. PF. Madders, M & McLeod, DRA, are reintroduced 

White-tailed Eagles in competition with Golden Eagles?, 36-45 
Wilkinson, TW, see Lyndon. AR 



Scottish Birds 



The Journal of the Scottish Ornithologists' Club 



Editor: DrS da Prato 

Assisted by: Dr I Bainbridge, Professor D Jenkins. Dr M Marquiss. Dr J B Nelson, and R Swann 
Business Editor: Caroline Scott, Admin Officer, SOC, Harbour Point, Newhailes Road, 
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Scottish Birds, the official journal of the Scottish Ornithologists' Club, publishes original material relating to ornithology in 
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Two issues of Scottish Birds are published each year, in June and in December. Scottish Birds is issued free to members of the SOC, 
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arc available In Inslilulions al a subscript ion rale ( 21 102 I oi £40 

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